Mitt Romney, the richest person ever to run for president before Donald John Trump launched his bid last summer, took the plunge four years ago when he let the world peer into a personal tax return from 2011.
During the 2012 presidential contest, Romney, the former Gov. of Massachusetts who was proud to claim credit for devising Romneycare before he orphaned it when President Obama modeled the Affordable Care Act after it, faced the music of the masses by allowing the world to peek into his family finances. Confronted with his Michigan governor-father George’s declaration that a transparent candidate should release lots of returns or be suspect by voters, son Mitt reluctantly obliged.
Mr. Romney asked Republican candidates running for the White House this year to follow his lead. “4 years ago today, I released my taxes; became issue. 2016 candidates should release taxes before first contests,” he tweeted.
For good reason, Ohio Gov. John Kasich refuses to release his tax returns. He did so only once, in 2010, when for a very short time reporters under specific conditions were allowed with being allowed to copy or otherwise document the returns with anything more than paper and pencil to look at just one return. That one tax return, from 2008, showed what many already suspected was the case: Congressman Kasich was cashing in big time by parlaying his public service into lucrative contracts. The one return reporters got to look at showed he made $1.4 million that year.
According to a report by CBS News based on his financial disclosure form, Gov. Kasich’s net worth is somewhere between $9 million and $22 million.
After 18 years in Congress, being reelected from a reliably conservative suburb of Columbus, his post-congressional career consisted of high-paid jobs at Fox TV and at Lehman Brothers, the storied Wall Street investment bank whose bankruptcy was a pivotal turning point in the meltdown on Wall Street that matured into “The Great Recession” of 2008.
Mr. Kasich, who’s waging a one-state campaign in the “Live or Die” state of New Hampshire, has successfully denied the public from seeing exactly how wealthy he really is following his nearly four decades in public office and five years as governor of Ohio. He remains opposed to showing his tax returns even though a rival like Jeb! Bush said he’ll do so. Reports based on Federal Election Commission filings show the 63-year old state leader is worth a bundle. And for context, these figures do not include his robust Social Security earnings from his nine-terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, where lawmakers take advantage of special rules they have established for themselves alone.
In 2012, Gov. Kasich was barely lukewarm on Mr. Romney’s campaign. The native born Michigander told a reporter who asked him what his tax rate was, that he was only paying 14.1 percent on income of many millions that mostly came from his investments, not his labor, which is the case for most everybody else whose rate is 35 percent.
Reporters in Ohio know to not ask that question anymore. New Hampshire reporters, and national reporters following Gov. Kasich and others, also don’t know to ask or don’t have the spine to ask to explain why voters shouldn’t see his tax returns? By abiding by Mr. Kasich’s refusal to be transparent, Fourth Estate reporters reward him for his wrong thinking on keeping this information secret. Mr. Kasich, as has been reported repeatedly here at Plunderbund, loves keeping secrets.
Talking about being the son of a small-town mailman may be just convenient storytelling once voters understand that he’s built a fortune on the backs of mailmen, who as unionized government workers get two failing grades from John Kasich. Carrying on fantasy conversations, he’s said that he doesn’t hate the rich, far from it, he wants to join the rich. And he’s done that, clearly.
Gov. Kasich is no fan of government workers even though his father was one. He would just as soon reduce their numbers given his ideological stance that government has original sin, and only private sector jobs count. If John Kasich wants people to believe he’s just the quirky, off-putting “Happy Warrior” kid next door, who believes only he and his resume are what the nation needs, he shouldn’t be afraid to show what a lifetime in politics has done for him, that common people can only dream of. John Kasich, like those who he wants to work longer and for less to retire, won’t have to worry about future income or access to healthcare like they do.
Continuing to keep this information out of the public sphere shows more than anything that he sings one song in public but plays another tune in private.