Put up or shut up, Mitt!

"Let me also say categorically: I have paid taxes every year. A lot of taxes. A lot of taxes." - Mitt Romney
Harry Reid has really gotten under Mitt Romney's very thin skin with his statement that he has been told by someone from Bain Capital that Romney didn't pay any taxes for at least ten years. Romney keeps sputtering indignantly that yes, he did, too, pay taxes! A lot of them! And we should just trust him on that and drop the subject. Then he goes on to say that Harry should "put up or shut up."

Put up what? Harry's financial disclosure forms are a matter of public record. It's Mitt's that are in question. And Reid is just reporting what someone has told him. He doesn't vouch for its accuracy, although he claims the person is a reliable source with knowledge of Romney's finances.

This squabble is obviously very easily resolved. Again as Reid has pointed out, all Romney has to do to prove that the statement is inaccurate is to release his tax returns, preferably the last twelve years of returns just like his father George did when he was running for president. That is, unless those returns would not absolve Romney of being a non-taxpayer. Or maybe even worse, perhaps they would show that this billionaire has actually received refunds from the IRS.

That's my theory of why the man is so reluctant to put those tax returns out there. I believe that there are years - perhaps even every year for the past several - when the Romneys actually received an income tax refund from the federal government because of all the deductions and write-offs taken. I suspect that Romney guesses, probably rightly, that middle-class American taxpayers who scramble to pay their taxes every year would not look kindly upon a man with seven or eight houses, a Swiss bank account, and money stashed in the Cayman Islands, not to mention a million dollar IRA, who received some of their hard-earned tax money in a refund!

So, I think Mitt will continue to resist calls to release his tax returns because he has made the calculation that what's in those returns would be much more likely to sink his candidacy completely than his stonewalling the issue. He may well be right. But that's no reason for Harry Reid to stop calling him out on it. Give 'im hell, Harry! Or just tell the truth and he'll think it's hell.


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