Harry Reid Should Make Stuff Up About Romney’s Taxes Until He Releases Them

by evanmcmurry

I can’t be the only person in the world fairly untroubled by Harry Reid’s off-the-cuff (or was it?) claim that Mitt Romney hasn’t paid taxes for past ten years. First, as SEK points out over at Lawyers, Guns & Money, the idea that a claim like Reid’s is beyond the pale went out the window about the time the fourteenth Republican legislator scored points off the birther issue, circa 2010. Guess what? If the GOP can continually cast aspersions about the President’s citizenship without a single bit of evidence to back up the claim, then Harry Reid gets invoke/make up a source to question Mitt Romney’s tax returns. If you don’t like that we live in such a world, I’ve got somebody you should talk to before Harry Reid.

More to the point, this wouldn’t be an issue, not for a single moment, if Mitt Romney released his tax returns, which it’s becoming more and more clear he won’t. If Romney wants to a) run for the highest office in the land, and b) run on his personal history as a money-making individual, then we have every right to demand he release documents testifying to his behavior as that money-making individual, i.e., supporting his claim that he’s qualified to be president. If he doesn’t release the returns, then we have every right to speculate what might be inside of them. Tax evasion? A dinosaur? That copy of the Constitution with the word “suckers” in it? It could be anything. He could have paid a 5% tax rate. He could have paid zero. He could have loss harvested. He could have made a fortune off the economic collapse. He could packaged and resold mortgages.

All Mitt Romney has to do to put an end to such speculation is release his tax returns. As far as I’m concerned, Harry Reid should go out every day and make wild accusations about what’s in those returns until Romney does so.

Addendum: Could Reid potentially be giving Romney an out by making the specter of his returns so bad that when Romney finally releases them, and it turned out he only paid, I dunno, 10%, that actually seems good by comparison? That’s a legitimate worry.

Addendum 2: I’ve heard advanced a theory that this was Romney’s play from the start—to get the Democrats to so freak out about his tax returns that when he finally releases them and they’re no big deal, the Dems look foolish. In which case, good on Romney for playing the long game.