Senator John McCain released his 2006 and 2007 income tax returns on Friday, showing his total taxable income was $474,104 but disclosing little of his wife's sizable wealth.Now, one of the most popular parlor games in the liberal blogosphere is "Can you imagine if a Democrat did this?" Most of the time, it's kind of tiresome, but this is actually a great test case, almost one of those "natural experiments" that economists are so enthused about these days. Here's the rest of the story:
....Mrs. McCain, who has a significant stake in a beer distributorship in Phoenix that her late father helped found, is far wealthier than her husband. The company is valued at $100 million or more, published estimates say.
In the 2004 campaign, Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, at first said she would not release her personal income tax returns, also citing family privacy. After a torrent of criticism, Mrs. Heinz Kerry released part of her taxes that showed her to be wealthiest spouse of any presidential candidate in American history.In other words, we don't have to imagine what would happen if a Democrat did this. We know. It would unleash a "torrent of criticism," eventually leading to at least a partial disclosure of the spousal taxes.
This time around, McCain chose not to release his wife's income tax returns even though he already knew what had happened to John Kerry when he did the same thing four years ago. Apparently he decided the media wasn't likely to make too big a deal of it in his case. Let's see if he's right.