In 1976, Tennessee Democrat Jim Sasser's campaign to unseat incumbent GOP Senator William Brock caught fire with a campaign button that read, "I paid more taxes than Brock." The issue that brought down the high-flying Brock -- failure to fully disclose his income tax returns -- shows the potential for bringing Mitt Romney to account for paying his fair share of taxes.
Brock, heir to a Chattanooga candy fortune, used an array of loopholes to pay only $2000 in income taxes the preceding year. When the figure leaked out, Brock released information from his 1975 return but refused to disclose any returns from previous years. (Sound familiar?) As conservative columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak lamented a week before Brock went down to defeat, "In post-Watergate politics, how much taxes Bill Brock pays is more important than what he thinks. By refusing to reveal the taxes paid in earlier years, he keeps alive an issue that could have been disposed of weeks ago by full disclosure."
We don't know how much money Romney paid in taxes. We do know his tax rate doesn't exceed 13 percent -- a far cry from the average working stiff who pays probably double that. The Obama campaign should appropriate Jim Sasser's winning slogan as a button or bumper sticker -- slightly modified to read, "I paid higher taxes than Romney!"
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