In an effort to quell critics and satisfy skeptics, Mitt Romney on Thursday told reporters that he has not paid less than 13 percent in taxes in any of the past 10 years.
Color David Simon less than impressed.
The politically inclined creator of HBO shows The Wire and Treme blasted the multimillionaire former investment banker on his blog, calling the admission “stunning.” It’s a tax rate a third less than what is normally paid by “a gentleman of his economic benefit,” Simon said, which led him to a few angry rhetorical questions.
“Am I supposed to congratulate this man?” Simon asked. “Thank him for his good citizenship? Compliment him for being clever enough to arm himself with enough tax lawyers so that he could legally minimize his obligations?”
Simon says he hasn’t paid taxes that low since he was a rookie newspaper reporter and that he had no qualms paying the higher rates that have come with his success and income.
“I can’t get over the absurdity of this moment, honestly: Hey, I never paid less than 13 percent,” he continued, mocking Romney. “I swear. And no, you can’t examine my tax returns in any more detail. But I promise you all, my fellow American citizens, I never once slipped to single digits. I’m just not that kind of guy.”
A populist clarion call is nothing new for Simon, who, beyond the political themes of his shows, has been very outspoken about his distaste for corporate America, among many other things.
“I make too much money,” he said during a speech at UNC last year. “I need to pay more taxes.”
Discussing group health care, he said, “Socialism is not a derogated term in Europe. By making it a term of derogation, it allows capitalism to act with a certain degree of fear.”