What’s he hiding? (Cont’d): Foreign tax credits?

Dan Shaviro offers a new theory about Romney’s tax returns.

Assuming, as I do, that Mitt Romney’s decision to hide all but a year and change of his tax returns reflects rational strategy on his part, and given the flak he has taken and will continue to take, we’re stuck with the question “What could possibly be in those returns whose disclosure would be worse than the continued drip-drip-drip?”

I’ve been a fan of Stuart Levine’s “foreign bank account amnesty” theory, but it has competitors. Dan Shaviro offers a new one: Romney might have been playing games – close to the line or even over the line – with foreign tax credits.

Is Harry Reid lying?

Possibly not. In the tight world of the Mormon financial elite, he might easily share a very close associate with Romney. I still don’t believe the underlying claim about Romney’s not having paid any taxes for 10 years, but it’s possible that Reid had some basis for making that claim.

Since I’ve been pretty censorious about people throwing around unsubstantiated charges, I need to walk back my charge that Harry Reid was “lying” about his supposed conversation with someone who allegedly knows that Mitt Romney didn’t pay any taxes for 1o years. Politico reports, based on comments by unnamed Reid staffers, that Reid actually believes what he’s saying. And it’s possibly that my original post unduly discounted the possibility that, within the rather narrow world of the Mormon financial elite, Reid and Romney might actually share an extremely close associate. I still regard it as grossly improbable that Romney actually paid zero federal income tax for 10 years, but it’s not impossible that Reid was actually told that, or something very like it, by a credible source.

I agree with all the commenters here that Romney and his cronies have utterly forfeited any standing to object to being lied about. And it seems indisputable that Reid’s tactic will be a net political winner from Obama’s perspective. That still leaves me on the Kevin Drum/Jon Stewart  side of the ethical question.

Footnote How stupid do the Republicans have to be to keep on making a fuss about this?  I’ve said it before, but it’s still true: any sentence containing the phrase “Mitt Romney’s taxes” is good for Obama.  Yes, what Reid did was unfair, but if those guys had any sense they’d just suck it up and go back to telling their own lies, such as the lie that Obama is trying to interfere with military voting when in fact he’s trying to make it easier for everyone to vote.