Why Mitt Romney’s Not Releasing His Tax Returns, Despite Pressure From Both Sides

Have you been wondering why GOP presidential candidate hopeful has yet to release his tax returns (aside from 2010 and 2011), even though he is being pressured by Democrats as well as Republicans to do so?

With President Obama releasing all of his tax returns since 2000, and news that McCain’s campaign was privy to over 20 years of Romney tax returns when they vetted him for vice president in 2008, it is confusing why he still refuses to make them public.

ThinkProgress reports that Romney’s response when asked his reasons for keeping his tax returns private is that he is “simply not enthusiastic about giving them hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort, and lie about.”

The refusal to give in could cost him in the long run though, as a poll released on Tuesday notes that about 56 percent of all voters want him to release the returns. Also, as George Will, a long-time conservative commentator and Washington Post columnist, stated:

“The costs of not releasing the returns are clear, therefore he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.”

Joshua Green with Bloomberg Business Week has a theory for why Romney may be hiding those tax returns, specifically the one from 2009. Green writes that he recently had dinner with a few private equity executives, and quizzed them on their theories about Romney’s tax returns.

While he assures readers that he has no idea what could be in those returns, they suggest that Romney may not have paid any taxes in 2009. He explains by saying:

“When the stock market collapsed in 2008, the wealthiest investors fared worse than everyone else…the “ultra-rich”—those with fortunes of more than $30 million—fared worst of all, losing on average about 25 percent of their net worth. ‘There was really nowhere to hide as an investor in 2008,’ Merrill Lynch’s president of global wealth management pointed out in 2009. ‘No region ended the year unscathed.'”

Mitt Romney Tax Returns

Since Romney is one of America’s “ultra rich,” he probably suffered significant losses in 2008, which would have ended in him paying no U.S. federal taxes at all in 2009, a factor that Green states “would be politically deadly for him.” This is just a theory though, since the documents have not been made public.

Joe Weisenthal with Business Insider agrees that Green’s hypothesis could be correct, though disagrees on the idea of it being “politically deadly.” He has another theory as well, saying that perhaps instead of suffering losses, Mitt Romney instead made a “windfall profit” in 2008-2009, possibly for being a part of a fund that was short housing, or even bet on the bank bailouts. Weisenthal assures, however that it is, “100% speculation, but it would also be the kind of thing that would be deadly (probably more deadly than $0 taxes). It also would have been somewhat unplannable.”

Whatever the reason Mitt Romney refuses to make more of his tax returns public, one thing is for sure–the longer he holds out on doing so, the more speculation there will be for why.