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Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, July 16, 2012

WHAT A TANGLED WEBBY CHARLES M. BLOWNEW YORK TIMESRomney has only released a complete return for 2010 and an unfinished estimate for 2011.

WHAT A TANGLED WEBBY CHARLES M. BLOWNEW YORK TIMESRomney has only released a complete return for 2010 and an unfinished estimate for 2011. This is less than any other presidential candidate in recent history. As The Times put it in a scathing editorial this week, “what information he did release provides a fuzzy glimpse at a concerted effort to park much of his wealth in overseas tax shelters, suggesting a widespread pattern of tax avoidance unlike that of any previous candidate.” Blind trusts, Swiss bank accounts and Bermuda accounts designed to shield your money from the taxing agency of the country you want to lead just doesn’t sound right. And Romney’s reluctance to reveal more suggests that there is more that’s distasteful.POLICY AND THE PERSONALBY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMES...Why not run a campaign based on that substance, and leave Mr. Romney’s personal history alone? The short answer is, get real. Look, voters aren’t policy wonks who pore over Tax Policy Center analyses. And when a politician — say, Mr. Obama — cites actual numbers in a speech, well, there’s always a politician on the other side to contradict him. ... So how can the Obama campaign cut through this political and media fog? By talking about Mr. Romney’s personal history, and the way that history resonates with the realities of his pro-rich, anti-middle-class policy proposals.

MITT ROMNEY'S COMPLAINTSEDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESAfter three days of Mitt Romney complaining about attacks on his record at Bain Capital, it’s clear that President Obama has nothing to apologize for. If Mr. Romney doesn’t want to provide real answers to the questions about his career, he had better develop a thicker skin. ... Mr. Obama’s campaign aides did go too far, perhaps, in suggesting Mr. Romney may have legal problems over this issue. But Mr. Obama’s criticism is fair. Mr. Romney has persistently refused to tell voters about his finances. Even now it is not clear how much money he has made from Bain in the 13 (or 10) years since he left the company.  The right way to respond to Mr. Obama is to release his tax returns from that period, or open up Bain documents.CHARACTER ASSASSINATION ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAILBY ROBERT J. SAMUELSONWASHINGTON POSTThe media campaigns that Obama and Romney are waging against each other are politically unsurprising. Victory awaits the side that can convince the most uncommitted voters that the other guy is a louse. The nostalgic lapse of Democrats into social protectors and Republicans into tax cutters is equally understandable. The roles are familiar and satisfying. The trouble is that they’ve been overtaken by reality. Yesterday’s stereotypes won’t solve today’s problems. ... This is the real but ignored challenge: to redefine government in a way that is economically viable and politically acceptable. To the extent that the presidential campaign might clarify choices or encourage a consensus, it is (so far) being squandered. Character assassination is a diversion, not a policy.