And not a penny more

This answer is very revealing:

In a video clip released in advance of the show, Ms. Morales broached the subject of the Romneys’ finances and tax returns by acknowledging that it’s “not a question that’s welcome,” before asking, “Why not be transparent?”

“Have you seen how we’re attacked?” Mrs. Romney said, leaning forward in her chair. “Have you seen what’s happened?”

Mr. Romney has agreed to release just two years of his tax returns — from 2011, and an estimate from 2012 — but when pressed by Ms. Morales, Mrs. Romney stood her ground, echoing some of her husband’s talking points.

“We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us,” she said. “But the more we release, the more we get attacked, the more we get questioned, the more we get pushed. And so we have done what’s legally required, and there’s going to be no more tax releases given.”

Romney’s mantra is to do what’s legally required but nothing more. Such as with taxes:

Mitt Romney’s reluctance to reveal his income and tax information received center-stage attention once again at last night’s debate. After weeks of immense scrutiny and criticism from his opponents, Romney caved and agreed to release his tax returns from 2010 and the projections for his 2011 return.

“I pay all the taxes owed. And not a penny more,” Romney said at the debate. “I don’t think we want someone running for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”

Since he’s very rich and can afford to hire professionals to do his taxes, that means he probably paid the absolute minimum he could. That’s not possible for most of us and most of us don’t bother detailing all the expenditures that might possibly be deductible (in fact, for most of my life I used the EZ form since my possible deductions were probably nowhere near as large as the standard deduction–of course a tax pro might have been able to do better).

And this is what the tax release is about, do no more than the minimum required. The ideal of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics was to be as transparent as possible, but it wasn’t explicitly written that Romney keep all documents … so he got rid of lots of them. Massachusetts also tries to be transparent by keeping all the records of public officials, but some of the laws don’t explicitly apply to the governor’s office … so he destroyed lots of records and had aides buy their hard drives so they weren’t left behind where others could see what was on them.

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