Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: A successful diversion
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|A successful diversion|
I heard Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid likes to beat his wife.
I heard Reid takes millions of dollars a year in bribes from Las Vegas casinos. At least one prostitute is at his beck and call at all times, courtesy, of course, of the gambling lobbyists who funnel the millions to the distinguished Democrat from Nevada. At least that's what I heard.
I heard Reid has never paid a penny in federal income taxes. It's so bad the Internal Revenue Service quit asking for its money long ago.
I also heard Reid likes to get naked and do the jig to the 1970s hit "Dancing Queen" by Abba. After all, Reid maintains a residence at the Ritz-Carlton when he's in Washington doing the people's work. Who knows what goes on at the Ritz when the workday is concluded? Or just begun.
Do those allegations sound asinine? Malicious? Slanderous?
They should because I possess absolutely no evidence to prove that Reid engages in any of the activities I mentioned above. I simply heard them. Maybe it was a "credible" source who told me. Maybe I read about them. Or maybe I fabricated them to cause a stir.
Yet, it's incumbent upon Reid to prove me wrong. He's guilty until he proves he's innocent.
It's right if we're to live by the example Reid set in alleging that presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hasn't paid any income taxes in 10-plus years.
If you've been disengaged from the presidential election, you may have overlooked Reid's foray onto the floor of the Senate last month to claim "the word's out" that Romney "basically paid no taxes the prior 12 years." Reid offered zero evidence to support the allegation. He said someone told him about it. When the media paid lip service to his diatribe, Reid upped the ante, leveling the no tax payment charge again in a second appearance on the floor of the Senate.
Just recently, Reid claimed it was a Bain Capital investor who told him that Romney was a tax dodger. He refused to disclose who the investor was. Bain Capital, by the way, is a financial services firm based in Boston where Romney once worked, earning a small fortune along the way.
All along, Reid called on Romney to release his tax returns for the past 10 years to settle the issue once and for all. We have to assume Reid forgot about the 2010 income tax return and the estimated 2011 return that Romney has already released. Romney's 2010 tax filing shows he earned $22 million, including $3 million in taxable interest. Some $12 million of his 2010 earnings was capital gains. He reduced his tax bill by donating $3 million to charity.
The 2010 income tax return alone is proof that Romney has paid income taxes over the past decade. Reid either overlooked it or he's been in Washington so long that he doesn't understand it.
Don't place a wager on either scenario.
Instead, Reid knew exactly what he was doing when he first alleged that Romney had not paid any taxes. He created an issue to divert the public's attention away from the economy. The economy, after all, is the most important issue in the presidential campaign. And it is an issue the Democrats, including President Obama, must avoid because they have presided over the worst economy since the Great Depression.
Romney's tax bill, though, is an issue because Romney is wealthy. And he can put this issue to rest by releasing his tax returns for the past 10 years. Whether Romney paid literally nothing in taxes or forked over millions of dollars isn't that important.
What's important is which candidate – Obama or Romney – is best suited to lead this nation out of an economic abyss.
And that, my friends, trumps any silly discussion – allegations – about bribes, a hotel suite, prostitution and taxes.