Katie Pavlich

Despite groups like ThinkProgress and people like Nancy Pelosi defending Harry Reid's comments about Mitt Romney not paying taxes for ten years because someone told him so, the Washington Post is giving the Senate Majority Leader four Pinocchios, pointing out that two years of released Romney returns show he paid taxes, making Reid's assertions false right away.

Romney’s 2010 return and his estimated 2011 return do show that he paid substantial taxes in those years. In 2010, he earned nearly $22 million, including $3 million in taxable interest, nearly $5 million in dividends and more than $12 million in capital gains. He reduced his taxes by giving $3 million in charitable contributions (much of it in appreciated stock, which shielded him from paying additional capital gains.)

In other words, this tax return shows a portfolio that is not structured to yield zero taxes. We spoke to a number of tax experts, all of whom said that, given Romney’s current portfolio, it was highly improbable for Romney to have had 10 years with tax-free returns — though there could have been one or two years with little or no taxes.

We use a reasonable person standard here. Without seeing Romney’s taxes, we cannot definitively prove Reid  incorrect. But tax experts say his claim is highly improbable. Reid also has made no effort to explain why his unnamed source would be credible. So, in the absence of more information, it appears he has no basis to make his incendiary claim.

 Moreover, Reid holds a position of great authority in the U.S. Congress.  He should hold himself to a high standard of accuracy when making claims about political opponents.

It should be stressed that because Romney paid less in taxes, he had more to give in charitable donations. This is a concept the left doesn't seem to understand whether it's allowing small business owners to pay less in taxes in order to have more money available for paychecks or in Romney's case, more money to give to charity. Also, Romney has paid millions in taxes throughout his lifetime, this is plenty of his "fair share."


Katie Pavlich

Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her new book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, will be published on July 8, 2014.

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Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography