Politifact rated Harry Reid’s statement that a Bain investor called him up and told him that Romney didn’t pay any taxes as “Pants on Fire.”
Dana Houle explains why Politifact is politistupid:
Harry Reid says he heard from someone that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years. We don’t know if what Reid said was true or false, because the evidence that could be easily proffered to settle the dispute is still being held back by Mitt Romney. But Politifact says Reid isn’t telling the truth, so they issued their idiotic pants on fire judgment againt Reid.
The logical problem here is that Politiface is saying Reid is lying, and supporting their claim by citing tax experts who say that the it can’t be true that Romney didn’t pay taxes. But that’s not what Reid is saying, he’s not saying he knows Romney didn’t pay taxes. Rather, he’s saying he was told Romney didn’t pay taxes. If the claim is wrong, it’s person who made the claim who’s wrong, not Harry Reid for repeating it.
Still, we wondered how likely it was that Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.
The geniuses at Politi-WTF answer their own question referencing a bunch of gibberish that nobody gives a shit about:
In an Internal Revenue Service study of nearly 4 million 2009 tax returns of filers reporting more than $200,000 in adjusted gross income, 20,752 of these taxpayers — or just 0.529 percent — had no U.S. income tax liability. About half of those did have income tax liability in other countries.
But Romney’s recent income has been substantially higher than $200,000, meaning that the size of his deductions and credits would need to be even larger than for many of those included in this IRS study if his tax liability was going to fall to zero. According to the one full return he’s released, for tax year 2010, he and his wife Ann reported an adjusted gross income of $21.6 million and paid taxes of about $3 million. He’s also released an estimate of his 2011 taxes, which showed income of $20.9 million and a tax payment of $3.2 million.
To gauge tax patterns for even higher-income earners, the best we can do is to look at another IRS study detailing the taxes paid by the top 400 earners in the nation in 2008. To make this list, you would have to have earned roughly $109 million that year. Among those 400 top taxpayers, 30 — or 7.5 percent — had an effective tax rate of between 0 and 10 percent. Given how the statistics are calculated, it’s impossible to know how many paid no taxes, but it’s safe to assume it’s well below 7.5 percent.
Neither study directly addresses Romney’s situation — he falls somewhere in the middle of the two studies — but the data does show that for earners both below and above him, it’s unlikely they paid zero taxes for one year, and it’s even more far-fetched to think they did so for 10 years.
Blah blah no one cares blah blah blah
Gee whiz, Politifact! If only there was someway to figure out whether or not Romney paid any income tax. Some way aside from having the Romney campaign describe what’s in his tax returns. Maybe a rousing game of “Hot/Cold” would do? Wr’ll throw out tax rates and Romney could tell us “Warmer… Warmer…”
There must be some easy way that would answer this question once and for all. Perhaps there are some documents that Romney could provide to the public to answer this wretched tax return question? Perhaps some documents that he provided to the McCain campaign that caused Pepaw to run screaming into the arms of the Wolf-Killah from Wasilla?
There must be something that Romney could do — just can’t put my finger on it…
Just give me a minute – it’ll come to me.[via Rooted Cosmopolitan]
[cross-posted at ABLC]