All of this business about his effective tax rate going up and him voluntarily not deducting more charitable contributions was a distraction.
The preliminary return he filed in January:
Preliminary 2011 return
Adjusted gross income: $20,901,075
Total federal tax paid: $3,226,623
What he just released:
Final 2011 return
Adjusted gross income: $13,696,961
Total federal tax paid: $1,935,708
Wow. His taxable income mysteriously decreased by over 7 million dollars!!!!! So his taxes owed also decreased by $1.3 million. Most of the difference is in Taxable Interest and Short Term Capital Gains. Yet when you look at the relevant schedules there’s just a note saying See Statement X. Then you go to the back of the return and look up Statement X, all that is there is a list of his 4 or 5 trusts and an amount for each.
Romney has not released returns for any of his trusts. What he has released is 379 pages of pointers to those unreleased trusts. Zero visibility, zero transparency, little content.