[1.] In July, when Romney refused to release more than two years of tax returns — in contrast to previous candidates of both parties, among them his father — there was a huge uproar. National Journal published a list of 17 prominent Republicans, including four sitting senators, who called on him to release 10 or more years. Editorials in papers across the country denounced Romney’s secrecy. The conservative columnist George Will declared that Romney “must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” Will warned Romney that he was losing the argument “in a big way.”
But it is Romney who appears to have won the argument. His tax returns are a dead issue, except on the left and liberal fringe.
 Romney has repeatedly left unaddressed and unresolved a fundamental contradiction between his proposal to cut tax rates across the board by 20 percent and his claim that his fiscal policies will put the nation on a path toward a balanced budget. His proposal to pay for (technically, to keep “revenue neutral”) the rate cuts by capping deductions does not add up. The Third Way, a centrist Democratic organization, has calculated that limiting individuals to $17,000 dollars in deductions would only increase revenues by $1 trillion, less than a quarter of the $4.6 trillion cost of a 20 percent rate cut...
...Romney runs into a parallel dilemma on the spending side of his proposals. He has called for a $2 trillion increase in military expenditures – which would then rise to 4 percent of Gross Domestic Product — while putting a cap on total federal spending of 20 percent of G.D.P. The highly reputable, if liberal, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, contends that doing the math on Romney’s budget outline produces some jarring consequences that the candidate does not address...
...Even accepting the tough cuts Ryan has called for in programs serving the poor and the out-of-work – Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment benefits – Romney will have to cut programs popular with the middle class, many of them swing voters and independents. But, as Romney noted in his Weekly Standard interview, he is “not going to give” us “a list right now.”...
...If Romney wins and actually tries to reduce deficits to the levels he has described during the campaign, he would have to make drastic cuts in widely backed discretionary spending programs. These programs would not just suffer cuts. Homeland security, the administration of justice, environmental protection, the National Institutes of Health: They would all face the prospect of being gouged or slaughtered.
It is not surprising that Romney does not want to get specific.
 The fourth area of evasiveness has been in campaign finance. Unlike previous Republican presidential contenders — Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, for example — Romney will not voluntarily identify the men and women who raise large amounts of money for him. Because these “bundlers,” as they’re known, are raising rather than donating money, Romney is not required to disclose who they are.
These un-disclosed bundlers perform an essential service: C.E.O.s or major real estate developers or other business leaders with large numbers of managerial employees can raise anywhere from $100,000 to well over $1 million in separate, individual amounts of $2,500. In other words, for a bundler to raise $1 million, he or she must gather maximum $2,500 contributions from 400 people, which is no small task.
The most successful bundlers have enhanced access to the campaign, often dealing directly with the candidate, and, after the election, with cabinet and White House officials. They are in a position to seek advantageous treatment.
Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 voluntarily disclosed his entire network of fundraisers, and George W. Bush publicly listed his bundlers, categorizing those who raised a minimum of $100,000 as “Pioneers”, and those who raised at least $200,000 as “Rangers.” With almost no fanfare, Romney has declined to name his bundlers, except the registered lobbyist-fundraisers who by law must be disclosed.
A Romney victory will make it possible for future candidates to take the same path of secretiveness. Non-disclosure could become the norm.
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