Newly-minted vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan released two years of tax returns on Friday, revealing he paid 15.9% in 2010 and 20% in 2011. That’s $34,233 and $64,746, respectively.
The move did nothing to detract attention from Mitt Romney’s continued refusal to release more of his own. The Romney campaign turned down President Obama’s offer to lay off the issue if he would release five more years, but Romney did offer a tidbit of speculation on Thursday, saying, “I think the most recent year was 13.6%”
Here are a few of today’s commentary highlights on the Romney tax return debacle:
Dana Milbank from the Washington Post told PoliticsNation’s Al Sharpton:
“I don’t know about you Reverend, but I’d even be very happy to pay Paul Ryan’s higher rates on his taxes. What it illustrates is that Mitt Romney’s a very wealthy man, Paul Ryan’s a reasonably wealthy guy just with his investments and his congressional salary. Now, interestingly enough, because he’s a wage-earning public servant, Mitt Romney earlier on said a man like that should not be qualified to be president because he hasn’t worked enough in the private sector. It illustrates the point that okay, he’s a wealthy guy, but not extremely wealthy, and the less wealthy you are, the higher percentage you pay.”
Patricia Murphy of Citizen Jane Politics told Rev. Al that according to recent polls, most people don’t agree with Romney that the “fascination” with his tax returns is “small minded.” 63% of Americans say he should release more returns. Murphy said:
“That also means a significant number of Republicans would like to see those returns and I’ve talked to a number of Republicans who can’t figure out for the life of themselves why he’s not doing this. And I do think it goes to a larger policy question. If anything is going to go forward in the next congress in terms of legislation, it is tax reform and there is a reality in our tax code that we tax wealth at a much lower rate than we tax work, and this is a perfect example of that. And I think for Romney to not be presenting exactly what is in his tax returns makes it very difficult to go forward and argue for tax reform when he can’t have an honest conversation about the kind of taxes he pays himself.”
Daniel Berger, an attorney and member of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group that advocates eliminating the Bush tax cuts, told The Ed Show Romney’s claim that he never paid below 13% is a sort of funny:
“His statement yesterday was laughable…there’s no reason to believe him, given his reputation for veracity. He’s the all-time flip-flopper, but even if you were to believe him, the 13% is way below what the average people in his bracket are paying…13% is way below what the average people in the 1% pay. You might remember the Warren Buffett situation. Buffett said he pays less than his secretary, it’s an outrage. It’s a disgrace.”
Bonus: check out what millionaire David Simon, creator of HBO’s “The Wire,” had to say.