Mitt Romney delivered another trust me moment in South Carolina today by claiming that he has not paid less than 13% in taxes in the last 10 years, but still refused to release his tax returns.
Here is the video from The Washington Post:
Romney said, “I just have to say. Given the challenges that America faces — 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty, the fascination with the taxes I paid I find to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues we face, but I did go back and look at my taxes, and, over the past 10 years, I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6%, or something like that. so I pay taxes every year. Harry Reid’s charge is totally false. I’m sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was who told him what he says they told him. I don’t believe him for a minute by the way, but every year, I paid at least 13 percent, and if you add in, in addition, the amount that goes to charity, the number gets well above 20 percent.”
The fact is that even if Mitt Romney paid 13%, he is still paying less than the middle class. According to the Tax Policy Center people in the middle twenty percent of taxpayers pay an effective tax rate of 15.5%. This means that even if Mitt Romney’s claims are true, he is still not paying as much as someone in the middle class.
Mitt Romney doesn’t seem to understand that his answers aren’t making this better. In fact every time he talks about his tax returns, it raises the questions in voters’ minds of why he won’t release his tax returns. What could be in those returns that he is so desperate for us not to see? If Romney had nothing to hide, then he would have nothing to fear by releasing the returns.
All Mitt Romney managed to accomplish today was to breathe new life into Harry Reid’s questions about his tax returns. The trust me, but I am not going to show you, is not going to get Romney elected president. Each time that Romney tries to tell people that there is nothing in his tax returns without releasing them, he reinforces doubts about his honesty.
This story is not going away, and voters aren’t being fooled by Romney’s attempts to put the burden of proof on Harry Reid. Sixty three percent of Americans want Mitt Romney to release his tax returns. They don’t want to hear Romney tell them what is in the returns. They want to see them. The Romneys have gotten angry with America and decided that their tax dodging is none of our business. If they maintain this attitude, don’t be surprised if voters decide that they don’t want snake oil salesman Romney living in their White House.