By James J. Devine
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has responded to claims that he paid no tax for a decade by telling Senate majority leader Harry Reid to “put up or shut up” but if he wants to rebut his accuser, the Republican candidate must disclose more of his annual IRS filings.
Romney refused to release any more than the one tax return for 2010 that he made public back in January.
That return revealed that the former Massachusetts governor and his wife recorded an income of $21.6 million dollars in 2010 and paid $3 million in tax at a rate less than 13.9%.
Documents summarizing his anticipated 2011 tax filing suggested that he would pay near 15 percent on another $22 million of income.
We know from just one year’s return that he had squirreled away vast chunks of his fortune in offshore tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Switzerland.
We also learned that Romney paid to lobby Congress to give him and other millionaires and billionaires more favorable treatment than people who work for their income, and in a country that prides itself for equality and justice that is just plain wrong.
The public should demand that Romney release ten years worth of tax returns because there is something contained in them that he obviously does not want us to know.
With the highest elected office in the world at stake, we cannot afford a case of buyer’s remorse.
Speculation that the Republican candidate paid little or no tax in some years is not far-fetched and chances are that the accusation is true or there is some greater flaw in Romney’s character that would be revealed if truth got out.
Romney may not have broken the law but he clearly dodged his responsibility as a citizen to pay his fair share of the cost for national defense, social security, jobs creation, education, health care and environmental protection.
A study of his proposed legislation asserted that Romney would further cut taxes his own unearned income and raise those of poor and working middle-class Americans.
His attempt to hide the facts only deepen the insult to American voters.
Reid put it well when he said, “It’s hard to say which is more insulting to Americans’ intelligence, Mitt Romney’s tax plan or his refusal to show the American people what’s in his tax returns.”
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