Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published a rebuke of Harry Reid (“Stay Class Harry“) that will strike any reasonable person following the current controversy as both shallow and wholly unpersuasive. The editorial begins by criticizing Reid, almost ad hominem, for failing to balance the budget, a strange attack given Congressional Republicans recent (successful) efforts to thwart probably the one realistic proposal we have for increasing revenues and lowering the deficit. “Who is Deep Throat?” the WSJ author asks. But it seems to me the onus is not on Reid, but on the man who is currently running for president. As other commentators have written elsewhere, Romney’s secrecy about his tax returns and offshore banking invites such speculation. But all of that can easily be put to rest if Romney would JUST RELEASE his tax returns, satisfying the demands of many Republicans as well as the majority of Americans.
If he’s got nothing to hide, it would be a political slam dunk. And now that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has come out in defense of Reid’s accusation, Romney has the potential to kill two birds with stone. But he won’t budge, leading rational folks to think that he’s calculated that the political cost of not releasing them outweighs the fallout of giving us a look in. Obama has released tax returns back to 2000, and George Romney, the Massachusetts’s governor’s father, released 12 years of returns himself. The WSJ lambastes Reid:
Meanwhile, his claim will hang in the air as the media report the political back and forth. Like the Obama campaign, Mr. Reid wants to change the conversation from the lousy economy and unpopular Democratic policies while destroying Mr. Romney personally. Note that the Obama campaign is not disavowing Mr. Reid’s charges.
But what’s really destroying the economy is that the wealthy and super-wealthy, like Romney, don’t want to pay the same income tax rate as normal, working Americans: from the partial 2010 return Romney released, we know he paid 13.9% in 2010, well below what the vast majority of Americans pay.
So many questions remain: How much does he have in his other offshore accounts? What about his FBAR? Did he participate in the IRS’s 2009 special tax amnesty program? How did he make over $100 million with his “magical” IRA? And what indeed has he paid in taxes for the last decade?