Let’s take a closer look at the taxes Mitt Romney pays. It raises the question of whether tax rates by income bracket should be the sole criterion to determine what’s fair and thus good for the country.

First, how many millions of dollars do you think Mr. Romney paid in taxes these past 10 years as compared to those paid by the average person? Ten times as much? One hundred times? One thousand times? What would be fairer to all concerned? Strikes me as a relevant question.

What percentage of total taxes do the top 1 percent of the country pay relative to the top 20 percent, or the top 50 percent versus the bottom half of low-wage earners? The point is that tax brackets are not the whole story.

Second, Mitt Romney’s effective tax rate of 13 percent, or more, over the last 10 years suggests virtually all of his income was derived from his investments.

So do you think that capital gains rates should be abolished and the income stemming from such investment is subject to the higher standard income tax rates?

If yes, then I ask you, would it have any material impact on the level of investment by the private sector in our economy? Would such a change spur economic and job growth, or might the converse be true?

Stated another way, will business expand and new jobs be created as a result, or would economic growth be stifled because capital investment tax incentives were sacrificed on the altar of “fairness”?

Out-of-control government spending is a related issue.

Suffice it to say that our fiscal train is headed for a wreck, and most likely will, if this sort of tax-and-spend “fairness” thinking prevails on Nov. 6.

John Hochstein is a resident of Boothbay Harbor.