In response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s recent allegation that an anonymous Bain investor once speculated that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years, Romney took to Sean Hannity’s radio show to demand that Reid “put up or shut up“:
“Well, it’s time for Harry to put up or shut up. Harry’s going to have to describe who it is he spoke with because of course that’s totally and completely wrong. It’s untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. It’s wrong. So I’m looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we’ll probably find out it’s the White House.”
As Jon Stewart rightly pointed out, Reid’s claim was indeed a “bullsh*t shot.” However, while it might have been surprising that it was the Senate Majority Leader, no less, who decided to speculate wildly about what might be in Mitt’s missing tax returns, it was no shock at all that, in the absence of financial disclosure, someone began throwing guesses out there. We’re no political strategist, but we’re pretty sure that’s what tends happen when you don’t release vital information that the public rightly expects of you, while still demanding that the public hire you to the most important office in the world. If you don’t want us to speculate, well, put up or shut up.
Meanwhile, in another game of hide-and-seek, Mitt Romney has also failed to provide any explanation for how he intends to provide a 20% reduction in the marginal tax rate across the board without increasing the deficit, as he has promised. As Ezra Klein puts it:
“[Romney] has promised to reduce the deficit, but refused to identify the spending he would cut. He has promised to reform the tax code, but refused to identify the deductions and loopholes he would eliminate. The only thing he has put on the table is dessert: a promise to cut marginal tax rates by 20 percent across the board and to do so without raising the deficit or reducing the taxes paid by the top 1 percent.”
So what happened in this information vacuum? Surprise! People started theorizing. And not just Harry Reid this time, but the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Even providing Romney with the most favorable assumptions, the Center found it would be “mathematically impossible” to implement Romney’s promises without a tax increase on the middle class.
Immediately, Mitt Romney blasted the Center’s analysis, calling it a “biased study.” And then he produced his own analysis explaining in detail how his tax promises were indeed viable without raising taxes on the middle class. Hahahahahhahhaahaaaaaa, zomg just kidding!! He didn’t produce anything.
Instead, Romney has just been complaining about the fact that one of the researchers at the Center is a former Obama staffer (therefore, the entire study is bogus, Ronald Reagan gets resurrected from the dead, and Mitt Romney is automatically President). Nevermind that the Center happens to be directed by a former economic advisor to George W. Bush. Or that the Romney campaign referred to the group’s work as “objective, third-party analysis” during the primary campaign.
In other words, Romney is neither putting up the data to refute the Center’s claim, nor is he shutting up about the study’s supposed liberal bias.