Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan held their first joint interview on CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday night, and the Obama For America campaign immediately seized on one comment by the vice-presidential nominee as "awkward."
Specifically the Dems criticism came from Ryan's comment "What we're saying is, take away the tax shelters that are uniquely enjoyed by people in the top tax brackets so they can't shelter as much money from taxation, should lower tax rates for everybody to make America more competitive."
An e-mail from the OFA camp read
”But Mitt Romney has investments in foreign tax havens that span the globe, leading experts to question whether Romney’s avoided paying U.S. taxes. While we can’t know for certain if he’s using his offshore accounts and investments to avoid paying his fair share in taxes or hedge against the dollar until he releases additional tax returns, we do know that Romney approved the use of tax shelters as head of Marriott’s audit committee. Tax experts have noted that Romney’s role with these abusive tax shelters represent “a key troubling public manifestation of Romney's apparent insensitivity to tax obligations.”
A most interesting segment of the interview was when CBS News' Bob Schieffer asked Ryan about taxes, an issue that has dogged Romney because of his refusal to release more than two years of his returns (though in fact he has only produced returns for 2010, with an estimate for 2011).
Ryan said he had offered "several years" of returns as part of the vetting process.
"It was a very exhaustive vetting process. It is a confidential vetting process. So there were several years. But I'm going to release the same amount of years that Governor Romney has. But I got to tell you Bob — two, I'm going to be releasing two, which is what he's releasing -— what I hear from people around this country, they are not asking, 'Where are the tax returns,' they are asking where the jobs are? Where is the economic growth?"
Interestingly, The Atlantic's Matthew O'Brien reported on Saturday that under Ryan's budget plan, Romney would pay less than 1 percent in taxes. .082 in taxes, actually.
Under Paul Ryan's plan, Mitt Romney wouldn't pay any taxes for the next ten years — or any of the years after that. Now, do I know that that's true. Yes, I'm certain.
Well, maybe not quite nothing. In 2010 — the only year we have seen a full return from him — Romney would have paid an effective tax rate of around 0.82 percent under the Ryan plan, rather than the 13.9 percent he actually did. How would someone with more than $21 million in taxable income pay so little? Well, the vast majority of Romney's income came from capital gains, interest, and dividends. And Ryan wants to eliminate all taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends.