Romney Says He’s Paid at Least 13% Tax Rate in Last Decade

So Mitt Romney says he’s paid at least a 13% tax rate in the last decade. Problem solved, all is forgiven, but not really…

Mitt Romney’s tax problem isn’t going away; that is, not until he shows more than two years of his returns as he already has. And from the looks of it, if we’re to take the words of Ann Romney seriously, producing those returns are not going to happen anytime soon if ever. As to be expected, in true Romney fashion, the American electorate is supposed to accept everything Mitt and Ann says about his taxes.

Why? Well, because he’s rich; and, how dare anyone question the motives of the wealthy in America; or even suggest they’re being dishonest. After all, nobody in America has gotten rich by being dishonest. So, to continuously pester a “privileged” man like Romney, is obviously futile and “small-minded” as he said while speaking to reporters in South Carolina today:

Greer, South Carolina (CNN) – Mitt Romney has paid no less than 13% in personal income taxes over the past ten years, he said Thursday.

The presumptive GOP nominee has faced withering criticism from Democrats over the release of his tax returns, including a charge by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid that Romney had paid no taxes for a ten-year period. Reid did not specify if those were the last ten years, or an earlier period.

Romney expressed frustration with Reid’s attack at a press conference with reporters in South Carolina.

“I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past ten years I never paid less than 13%. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. I paid taxes every single year,” Romney said, explaining he had gone back to check his records after being asked by a reporter about the tax rates he had paid. “Harry Reid’s charge is totally false. I am sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him – I don’t believe it for a minute by the way – but every year I paid at least 13% and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why, the number gets well above 20%.”

Reid had told reporters an anonymous source gave him a tip. A source close to Reid later said that Reid got the information from an investor with Bain, the private equity firm Romney ran.

A spokesman for Reid, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement Thursday after Romney’s press conference, “We’ll believe it when we see it. Until Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he’s hiding. Romney seems to think he plays by a different set of rules than every other presidential candidate for the last thirty years, all of whom lived up to the standard of transparency set by Mitt Romney’s father and released their tax returns.”

Romney has released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate of his 2011 tax returns when he filed for an extension, but has declined to make available any earlier returns.

On Thursday he called insistent questions over his tax documents “small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face” such as unemployment and the nuclear threat from Iran.

President Barack Obama’s campaign quickly dismissed Romney’s tax revelation in a statement.

“Mitt Romney today said that he did indeed ‘go back and look’ at his tax returns and that he never paid less than 13% in taxes in any year over the past decade. Since there is substantial reason to doubt his claims, we have a simple message for him: prove it,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith wrote. “Even though he’s invested millions in foreign tax havens, offshore shell corporations, and a Swiss bank account, he’s still asking the American people to trust him. However, given Mitt Romney’s secrecy about his returns, coupled with the revelations in just the one return we have seen to date and the inconsistencies between this one return and his other financial disclosures, he has forfeited the right to have us take him just at his word.”

Now I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t classify questioning on how much or whether Romney has paid any taxes in the past decade as “small-minded.” When you consider that under a Romney presidency someone like him with his cumulative wealth would pay an income tax rate of nearly zero percent. I would say that in the interest of fairness, transparency, and not looking like a rich snob at a time when millions of Americans are struggling and not as fortunate enough to stash money in mattresses or tax-free offshore bank accounts and such. If Romney was truly interested in being perceived as a “man of the people,” he would release his tax returns.

This according to Bloomberg:

His campaign said the 13 percent figure he cited today represented his share of federal income tax. That’s a higher rate than the average household pays. In 2009, the most recent year with available data, the average federal income tax rate was 7.2 percent, according to theCongressional Budget Office.

Romney’s rate was similar to the 13.4 percent average tax rate for the top 20 percent of taxpayers, and lower than the 21 percent rate paid by the top 1 percent of taxpayers — those making more than $1.2 million — according to the CBO.

What is really funny when you think about it, is how little Republican politicians have a problem with demanding that poor people pass drug tests so as to qualify for government assistance programs like food stamps, welfare, or even unemployment benefits in their time of financial need.

But yet Romney is given a pass by some?

Romney producing multiple years of his tax returns with a minimum of eight years, isn’t too much to ask — its standard procedure for candidates. It is not like anyone is asking for Romney to produce a birth certificate to prove that he is an American or anything kinda-sorta-racist like that. Or, neither is anyone demanding to see Romney’s college transcripts. But let’s be honest:  by Romney being a white male, making any such request  runs antithetical to his God-given blessing of being not just a white man in America, but a very wealthy and privileged white man in America willing to lie to win.

Watch the following to see how Rpomney could have paid zero taxes:

But let Ann Romney tell it as she did to NBC’s Natalie Morales when asked about their invisible tax returns, “The more we release, the more we get attacked, the more we get questions, the more we get pushed. We have done what’s legally required, and there’s going to be no more tax releases given. And there’s a reason for that.” Mrs. Romney continued to explain her reasoning by saying, “And that’s because of … what happens as soon as we release anything. Mitt’s financial disclosures when he was governor were huge.” But the icing on the cake was when she said, “The other thing you have to understand is that Mitt is honest, his integrity is, is just golden. We pay our taxes …. Beyond paying our taxes, we also give 10% of our income to charity. So we have no issues that way, and the only reason we don’t disclose any more is, you know, we just become a bigger target

I suppose given Mrs. Romney’s statement, we’re to excuse the Romney’s from scrutiny. Or even the arduous task of publicly producing a decade worth of tax returns. By Mrs. Romney’s statement, being sympathetic to their plight of being super-rich because they do in fact donate a significant amount of their income to charity is not a bad idea — absurd, I know; but still. However, it’s very hard to trust what the Romney’s are saying to be true when they both disclose different accounts as they have. She says ten percent, and he says that their donations increases their legaltax obligation to over twenty percent. So which is it, Mitt? Do you pay thirteen percent, or is it over twenty percent? This might not be a big deal to some; however, for a man who places a premium on integrity and honesty, the difference says a lot about Mitt’s character.

But yet we should trust everything he says.