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Letters on letters: Taxing Mitt Romney

August 11, 2012
(Rob Rogers / Pittsburgh…)

The Times' two recent news articles on Mitt Romney's taxes — the first last Saturday on the GOP presidential candidate's feud with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the second on Monday detailing the reassessment of his La Jolla home to lower his property tax liability — drew about a dozen reader letters between them, a respectable haul but nowhere near the week's top topics.

As if to prove that the discussion on Romney's taxes is more about the buzz and less about the topic itself, the four letters published Wednesday and Thursday responding to The Times' articles drew nearly 20 reader submissions, nearly twice the tally for the two news stories. Below is a selection of those letters.

-- Paul Thornton, letters editor

Geoffrey Cushing-Murray's assertion in his Aug. 8 letter to the editor that "if the IRS has no problem with Romney's tax returns, why should anybody else?" is specious. The IRS has no problems when Exxon Mobil makes record profits and yet pays low tax rates.

The issue is that the tax code needs to be made fair because rich people and corporations manipulate the tax system. A person or a corporation (which in Romney's mind is synonymous with a person) can legally pay zero taxes or very low tax rates and, therefore, the IRS can do nothing.

Simply because the IRS hasn't gone after Romney does not mean that there is not something in his tax returns that would dismay the average taxpayer. And that probably explains why Romney refuses to release his taxes records.

Arch Miller

Arcadia

In his Aug. 9 letter, reader Milt Halsted criticized Romney's acceptance of legal tax breaks on his home in La Jolla because of deeper moral issues. He wrote: "Americans hold their presidential candidates to a higher standard of not only fairness but also generosity and compassion toward those who have less."

If Halsted is interested in knowing something true about our two presidential candidates, he should know that Mitt and Ann Romney gave $2.9 million to charity in 2010 and more than

$4 million in 2011. His Mormon faith holds to the biblical admonition to tithe 10% of one's income annually. Before Barack and Michelle Obama entered the national political arena around 2004, their charitable contributions for 2002 and 2003 accounted for 0.4% and 1.4%, respectively, of their annual income.

The true measure of a man is how he spends his time and his money when no one is looking.

Jan Taylor Riley

San Clemente

I keep reading unanswered questions about Romney's past tax returns, most recently in The Times' letters section.

Four years ago, then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain received 23 years of Romney's tax returns as part of the vice presidential vetting process. We know that Romney used overseas tax havens and had a Swiss bank account.

Any reason that voters should be denied the information McCain was given access to?

Paul McElroy

Laguna Woods

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