GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been dogged by media-gasbag allegations that he hasn’t been paying his taxes — allegations which offer smarmy pop-culture writers the exceedingly rare opportunity to mention Mitt Romney and Lauryn Hill in the same sentence.* Yesterday, Romney responded to those accusations by announcing, “I did go back and look at my taxes, and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent.” In response, David Simon — creator of fall-of-America portraits like The Wire, Generation Kill, and Treme — took to his blog to announce that he, for one, was not amused. “Can we stand back and pause a short minute,” writes Simon, “to take in the spectacle of a man who wants to be President of The United States, who wants us to seriously regard him as a paragon of the American civic ideal, declaiming proudly and in public that he has paid his taxes at a third of the rate normally associated with gentlemen of his economic benefit.”
“Am I supposed to congratulate this man? Thank him for his good citizenship? Compliment him for being clever enough to arm himself with enough tax lawyers so that he could legally minimize his obligations? Thirteen percent. The last time I paid taxes at that rate, I believe I might still have been in college… Since then, the paychecks have been just fine, thanks, and I don’t see any reason not to pay at the rate appropriate to my earnings, given that I’m writing the check to the same government that provided the economic environment that allowed for such incomes.”
Simon concludes: “This republic is just about over, isn’t it?” Happy Friday, everyone!
*Pause to imagine Mitt and Lauryn, meeting at their favorite brunch place on a sun-drenched Saturday morning in Jamaica or Monaco or some other tax shelter nation. He’s drinking a virgin Bloody Mary that’s actually just water with red food coloring. She’s drinking hibiscus tea made from hibiscus she farmed from her hibiscus forest. Mitt: “Lauryn, honeybunny, you gotta release a new album! Unplugged No. 2.0 came out in 2002. Do you know how long ago that was?” Lauryn: “Of course I remember that, Mitty. That’s the last time you got elected to public office!” And they laugh and laugh and laugh…
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