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Mark Goulston, M.D. Headshot

We Don't Need to See Mitt Romney's Tax Returns

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I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. -- Martin Luther King Jr.

We hear a lot about Mitt Romney's tax returns and the push to see them and his reluctance to show them. I am reminded of the O.J. Simpson criminal trial (in which I played an advisory role to the prosecution) and the tumult created by the hesitation to say the "N" word. The notion there was that once it was said, it was liking ringing a bell and you can't "unring a bell."

It seems to me that the Romney camp is concerned that once you say or imply the "W" (wealthy and real wealthy) word, that you can't unring that and the have not's will feel forever (or at least through the elections), "This guy can never relate to us," or "So let me get this straight, he's been raking in the $$$ without even being focused on it while he has been running for office and while I have been applying for job after job and not getting hired."

At this stage of the campaign, I think it is time to level the playing field instead of turning our heads back and forth as if watching the U.S. Open of vitriol.

What we are all wanting to see are both candidates' values. And as my good friend Billy Pittard told me, "Values are not what you say or believe or think; they are what you do in your day-to-day actions and when you're under stress or in a crisis." To that end, what I think would be more indicative of each candidate's values is to see: a) their calendar and what they spend their time doing and not doing; b) their credit card, checking and bank statements to see what they actually spend their money on (and it would also help to see what their spouse's spend their money on, since spouses are frequently the decision makers about expenditures and thus also reflect each candidate's values).

If we really want to be focused on their values, seeing a log of where they visit on the Internet and who they call would also reveal much about their values and who helps them to govern and with their decision making. The latter will never happen, and neither will the prior paragraph's suggestion.

Martin Luther King Jr's quote might therefore be amended to: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their calendars, credit card statements and who and where they visit on the Internet."

Dr. King... "Dream on!" but R.I.P.

P.S. "Let he who is without time wasting, foolishness and self-indulgence and maybe even a little sin, cast his credit card statement, calendar, telephone log, email log and browsing history upon the gaze of the public."