Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol on Monday admitted that it was “kinda weird” that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s tax rate was only around 13 percent when most middle-class people paid significantly more.
“The custom over the last 20-30 years, I suppose, has been to release at least a couple years of tax returns,” the neoconservative pundit told C-SPAN. “If you know you’re running for president anyway, I think it’s just part of the price of running. … Obama did so Romney probably should do it.”
“Look, it’s an interesting debate about what tax rates people should pay, how progressive the tax code should be,” he continued. “I personally, if I were designing the tax code, would have a tax code in which Mitt Romney paid more than 13 percent, I would say, given what I know about the kind of investments he made money from.”
“I’m just not a believer that he needed — that there would have been any economic determent to paying more, and I think it just seems kinda weird that he pays a lower rate than an awful lot of middle-class people.”
Kristol has previously called Romney “crazy” for not making more tax returns available.
“He should release the tax returns tomorrow,” Kristol told Fox News’ Brit Hume in July. “It’s crazy. You’ve got to release six, eight, ten years back tax returns. … He has to give a big speech in defense of capitalism, and that will elevate, I think, this race above this tactical back in forth, which I do think he’s on the margin of losing.”
Romney insisted to reporters last week that he had paid more than 13 percent of his income in taxes — or more if donations to the Mormon church were included — over the last 10 years, and accused the people who want to see his returns of being “small minded.”
During an interview with NBC, Ann Romney said that there would be “no more tax releases given” by the wealthy couple, but she also insisted that “there’s nothing we’re hiding.”
“We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us,” the candidate’s wife told NBC’s Natalie Morales. “But the more we release, the more we get attacked, the more we get questioned, the more we get pushed. And so, we have done what’s legally required. And there’s going to be no more tax releases given.”
“There’s nothing we’re hiding,” Ann Romney said. “You know, we’ve had a blind trust for how many years? We don’t even know what’s in there. It’s been managed by blind trust since before Mitt was governor, you know, 2002 forward. And so, you know, I’ll be curious to see what’s in there too.”
Over the course of the summer, President Barack Obama’s campaign has successfully attacked Mitt Romney by connecting him to American jobs that Bain Capital allegedly helped send overseas. It has also hammered him for not releasing more than two years of tax returns and having offshore investments and tax shelters in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Switzerland.
A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service last year found that 10.4 million moderate-income taxpayers paid more than 26.5 percent on their income in taxes.
Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast Aug. 20, 2012.
(h/t: The Huffington Post)