"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mitt Romney's Tax Returns and Why Everyone Should Shut Up About Them

If you're interested, you can find Mitt Romney's 2010 and draft 2011 tax returns here.

And here's why you are an envious jerk if you care about them:

1. In 2010 Romney paid total federal, state and real estate taxes of a little over $3.9 million.   In other words, he paid more taxes in one year than the average person makes in a lifetime.   He pays his fair share, and then some.

2. In 2010 Romney gave nearly $3 million to charity.   Again, more than the average person makes in a lifetime.   And something on the order of ten thousand times what Joe Biden was managing to give as a U.S. Senator.  

3. In 2011 Romney estimates that he will pay roughly $4.675 million in federal, state and real estate taxes.   So in two years he will have paid in taxes roughly $8.5 million.   That's more than people Obama calls "the rich" (people who make more than $200,000 a year) will make in a lifetime.   Again, what could possibly be the rationale for saying he doesn't pay his fair share?

And, of course, the bulk of his current income is investment income (capital gains, interest and dividends) on money he invested only after he had already paid income taxes on it in the first place!

4. Meanwhile, in 2011 Romney estimates that he will give more than $4 million to charity.

If I were Romney, I might go back through my records for the past 30 years or so, white out everything except the bottom lines where it shows how much tax he paid and how much he gave in charity, and then I'd produce them with a graphic comparing my tax payments and charitable giving to the median American today.   What it would likely show is that he's paid something like $100 million in taxes and given something like $50-100 million to charity in his lifetime.   And then I'd just say in a more-in-sadness-than-in-anger tone, something like:  "This is what the modern liberal Democratic Party has come to... they really believe that I haven't given my fair share to my country."   And then I'd shake my head and say:   "That sounds like socialism to me."  

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