I Just Don't Get It
(Editorial cartoon by Jim Morin / Miami Herald (August 6, 2012) and featured at McClatchy DC. Click on image to enlarge and then come on back.)
I really don't get it. Why is Mitt Romney being so stubborn about releasing his past tax returns the way other presidential candidates have and the way his own father did? He claims he has nothing to hide, so why the refusal? He has to know he's giving the Democrats a huge weapon to use against him, made even worse by his steadfast refusal to even acknowledge the issue, as if he really did have something to hide.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that "a source" told him Mitt didn't pay any taxes for the ten years in question. Republicans howled in protest, telling Reid to put up or shut up. The RNC head even called Reid a "dirty liar" on a Sunday talk show, thereby generating even more spin for the mills.
Others have suggested that Romney took advantage of an amnesty program and brought his offshore money back onshore without paying any taxes. Maybe, then, he actually didn't pay any taxes, but under the program, that certainly wasn't illegal. I guess he and his campaign felt that would still look bad. It might, but not as bad as it looks right now when it appears he actually is hiding stuff from the electorate.
Another view is a bit more fanciful, but certainly not out of the question. From Emptywheel (via Susie Madrak):
...here’s a thought.
Harry Reid, Mormon, and Senator from Nevada, is the one leading the charge to return attention to Mitt’s tax returns.
He attributes his claim that Mitt paid no taxes for ten years to someone who invested with Bain. Now he may know his purported Bain-related source because he travels the halls of power. But Bain has very close cultural ties to the Mormon Church–according to some, improperly so. Moreover, because Mitt and other Bain execs have given so much to the Mormon Church in the form of Bain stocks, high ranking Mormon insiders may have a better idea of what Bain Capital actually does–and how Mitt valued his holdings before he gave them to the Church–than most others.
So Reid may be calling out Mitt not just as a former boxer, but as someone who shares a very wealth-based and close knit faith with Mitt.
Add in the practice–which even an outsider like me saw when I lived in UT and worked for a predominantly Mormon company in the 1990s–of gossip about tithing, notably whether Mormon colleagues tithed pre- or post-tax. That’s another reason why Reid may have a better sense of what Mitt’s tax practices look like than DC pundits might guess on face value. [Emphasis added]
If that's the case, it would appear that Romney fears losing Utah and Idaho and Nevada if he chiseled his own church.
Ultimately, I think the reason is that so much has been made about his expensive tastes and his personal wealth that showing just how much money he has earned each year and how little he paid in taxes would make it appear that he really has nothing in common with 99% of the population and isn't likely to defend the interests of the plebes.
But, who knows?