Rupert Murdoch, the conservative media mogul who owns Fox News, tweeted Wednesday that the release of Mitt Romney’s tax returns could “kill” his candidacy.
“Romney’s tax returns might kill his chances. See Republican establishment panic now!” Murdoch tweeted.
The former Massachusetts governor remains in a thorny political situation. He made more than $20 million income last year and paid only about 14 percent in income taxes.
But Romney’s own tax plan has called for all Americans to pay a minimum 25 percent tax.
Newt Gingrich’s plan, however, calls for a flat 15 percent income tax for all Americans. Gingrich has mocked Romney’s plan, saying that Romney wants Americans to pay more in tax than he himself does.
Romney’s campaign is reeling.
Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal reported this week that Romney’s posture suggests that his wealth embarrasses him.
The Journal reported that Romney is thinking of scrapping the so-called “carried interest” provision that has allowed Romney and other venture capitalists to invest and reap profits at the low capital gains tax rate of 15 percent.
If “carried interest” were scrapped, rates on venture investments could be taxed at normal income rates.
Gingrich, for his part, says Romney’s plan is folly. Gingrich has argued he would cut capital gains taxes across the board to zero to stimulate investment and create new jobs.
Romney appears in a box. Shamed by his low tax rates, he is calling for higher taxes for everyone else. As Politico put it, “Mr. Romney remains in a defensive crouch, as if he’s embarrassed by his wealth.”