While Republicans are playing semantics games with Reid's statements on Romney's (not paying) taxes, they are clumsily avoiding the heart of the issue, which is Mitt Romney gaming the system to his advantage and refusing to admit what he actually did. Think about it. If Reid's accusations were really the scurrilous lies that Romney and his G-O-TEA media attack dogs claim they are, why won't they produce any evidence proving Reid wrong? Is it perhaps because they know there's truth to what Harry Reid is saying?
Yesterday, The Roosevelt Institute's Mark Schmitt brought up the real issue behind all the Beltway hype.
There are two important points about the tax system that Romney’s taxes, even what we already know about them, reveal: The first is that the creation of tax-deferred accounts can take huge amounts of investment income out of the tax system entirely. A major thrust of Republican tax policy has been to expand the number of opportunities to put money â€“ and the income it generates —into accounts that fall outside the scope of taxation. These include various forms of IRAs, health savings accounts, education savings accounts, and others. Many of them benefit the middle class, although they provide little value for low-income workers. But as we see from the Romney example, they can provide huge benefits to the wealthy. Any serious tax reform should aim to reduce the number and scope of these accounts in order to bring as much income as possible under the purview of the tax system and keep rates as low as possible.
And second, Romney’s taxes reveal how misleading just looking at the rate paid by Romney or any other wealthy person really is. When we eventually see the returns, we won’t know what percentage of Romney’s income he pays in taxes because we aren’t seeing all of his income, as some large amount of it is flowing through this IRA. Again, that’s not a Romney problem; it’s an example of how ordinary high-end tax practices make it difficult to even judge whether the system is fair or equitable.
When we eventually see Mitt Romney’s tax returns, I hope that the debate about whether he’s a tax cheat or a mere tax-avoider won’t distract us from the fact that we’ve created a tax system that doesn’t make any sense and absurdly benefits the very well-off. There’s a choice between policies that would take the tax code even further in that direction and policies that would begin to restore sanity and fairness.
There's a reason why Mitt Romney's tax plan is structured the way it is. His economic policies are pretty much "Bush on Steroids" in that they favor the super-rich while crushing the middle class and working poor. This has really been Mitt Romney's MO for some time, so why are we really surprised that he doesn't want to pay his fair share in taxes now?
This is what Harry Reid knows. And this is why he refuses to be bullied by Romney & his media attack dogs into silence.
The latest salvo in the intensifying spat comes from Reid’s chief of staff David Krone, who upped the taunts by calling Republicans “a bunch of cowards” and “henchmen for Romney” in an interview with Politico late Sunday night.
“To turn it around, all their childish rants this weekend about calling Reid a ‘liar’ and all that, it just shows you how scared they are that Harry Reid was telling the truth,” Krone told the paper.
Top Republicans on Sunday flatly accused the Senate majority leader of lying when he claimed Romney didn’t pay taxes for a decade, something he says he learned of from an as-yet-unnamed investor to Bain Capital. Reflecting the frustrations of his party, an incensed Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Reid a “dirty liar,” and has since repeated the epithet.
Reid wasn’t fazed. His spokesman Adam Jentleson responded in the afternoon by vouching for the credibility of the source and inviting Romney to disprove the claim by releasing a series of tax returns. Calling him the “most secretive candidate since Richard Nixon,” Jentleson told TPM: “It’s clear Mitt Romney is hiding something, and the only way for him to clear this up is to be straight with the American people and release his tax returns.” [...]
For Romney, it’s a lose-lose proposition because doing so comes with its own risk. The Republican nominee has amassed a fortune, mostly via investment income that allows him to pay a lower tax rate than many working Americans, and Democrats are eager to turn that into a liability with middle class voters.
And there we have it. Mitt Romney fears being outed by Harry Reid & others as a plutocrat who enjoys playing by his own rules while hosing the middle class and working poor. This is why Romney refuses to release more documents from Bain Capital, and this is why Romney refuses to clear the air on his own taxes.
Oh, and here's one more serving of food for thought. Some in the media are now making ridiculous allegations about Harry Reid, even comparing him to Joe McCarthy (??!!) What's really nonsensical about that is that Reid is simply saying something that Romney can't seem to refute. He isn't actively lying about Romney or calling him "un-American" for his political views. However, Mitt Romney has so far refused to condemn Michele Bachmann's insane and incredulous allegations about the staff of the State Department. While Mitt Romney is throwing a juvenile temper tantrum over someone calling out his own record on taxes and tax fairness, real people are being hurt simply because Romney's G-O-TEA allies in Congress want to score political points with their teabagger base.
Maybe that's the other reason why Mitt Romney has been so afraid of Harry Reid lately?