(Caricature above is by the inimitable DonkeyHotey.)
Anyone who has been paying attention has to know by now that Willard Mitt Romney (aka Wall Street Willie) is still refusing to release many of his tax returns. This has now turned into a ridiculous comedy of errors and even many of his Republican cohorts are now begging him to release a substantial amount of tax returns. President Obama has already released 12 years worth of tax returns (the same amount Willard's father, George Romney, released when he ran for president).
But Willard is being obstinate. Appearing on the Fox News channel yesterday, he said he would only release two years worth of tax returns. He said:
The Obama people keep on wanting more and more and more. More things to pick through, more things for their opposition research to try make a mountain out of and to distort and to be dishonest about. We?re going to put out two years of tax returns.
Now that makes it look like he is definitely trying to hide something. Just what is it that he thinks the Obama campaign can "make a mountain out of"? In The New Yorker, John Cassidy say there are four possible reasons why Willard would be too embarrassed to release more tax returns. They are:
1. Extremely high levels of income (even more than the $21 million a year we already know about).
2. More offshore accounts would be exposed (above the seven we already know about).
3. More politically explosive investments would be revealed (like his heavy investment in a company that disposed of aborted fetuses).
4. It would reveal he paid a very, very low tax rate (even less than the 13.9% we know about, and maybe even some years where he paid no taxes at all).
Those are all good reasons for not wanting to release the tax returns. Personally, I think it is number four (possibly in conjunction with a couple of the others). It would not surprise me at all to find out there were several years where Romney paid no taxes at all.
One thing is pretty certain by now -- Willard definitely has something to hide. The crazy thing though is that if he just went ahead and admitted it now, he could probably take the sting out of it over the next few months and it would be old news by election day. But his silly refusal to release the tax returns just keeps the issue alive, and allows people like me to keep wondering what nefarious (and possibly criminal?) thing he is trying to hide.
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