Mitt Romney has finally answered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s claim that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee didn’t pay any taxes in the last decade. Some, even in the Democratic party, saw Reid’s remarks as little more than a smear tactic, since it was not backed up with a source. However, it is an attack easily countered; but Romney still refuses to release any returns dated prior to 2010.
Romney tax returns to remain hidden
Romney answered that he has paid 13 percent minimally in taxes for each of the last ten years. He said:
“I just have to say, given the challenges that America faces — 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty — the fascination with taxes I’ve paid I find to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face.”
But let’s not forget that Romney is leading the party that has kept congress from addressing real issues nearly 40 times for votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act; an action it lacks the authority to carry out, no matter the results. The same party has repeatedly entertained discussions about the release of the President’s birth certificate, even though he has produced it, in long and short form.
And specifically, Romney is the man who promises to turn the economy around while offering no specifics on how he intends to accomplish that.
“But I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most
recent year is 13.6 or something like that. So I paid taxes every single year. Harry Reid’s charge is totally false. I’m
sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him..”
It may well have been out of line for Ried to make such a statement, especially without citing a source. However, note that Romney never uses the term “income tax.” In the world of politics, the exclusion of a word can be very calculated, or it can simply be a slip of the tongue.
Possible reasons for tax silence
But the real bottom line, however, is that it is a simple thing to prove. And if he has nothing to hide, why hide it?
A recent piece in the Washington Post speculated on two possible reasons Romney may have for withholding his returns:
1) Stubbornness. Personal finances are considered private business by most people. The Romneys may just feel it is nobody’s business and they are not about to let the opposition tell them where to get off.
Good for them, but this is the ultimate public office Romney aspires to, so a little public disclosure is customary to
show transparency to the voters.
2) No satisfaction. The Post article speculates that no matter what the returns reveal, Democrats will find something to
poke at in the press, so why bother?
He may be right about that. Today’s politics seem to be more about discrediting the opposition, rather than bolstering one’s
own platform. However, this is the game Romney has chosen to be a player in, and he is certainly not squeamish about pouncing on his opponent when the opportunity arises.
Stigma hard to dispel
No matter what the reason Romney has for withholding his tax returns, the voters will only think that there is something in those returns that he does not want them to see. That may be presumptuous, but as long as Romney keeps his tax information close to his vest, the stigma will stubbornly remain.