Monday, August 20, 2012

Over Taxed Americans? Not Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan or Barack Obama

No Crushing Burden for Them

To listen to Conservatives and anti-tax zealots one would think that for high income individuals the level of taxes that they pay is just horrific.  Well its not true for the political class, or at least some of the political class.  Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan make huge amounts of taxes, and despite the horror of a 35% top marginal rate they don’t pay anywhere near that amount.  Let’s start with Paul Ryan.

The Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul D. Ryan and his wife, Janna, paid 20 percent of their adjusted gross income in federal income taxes in 2011 and 15.9 percent in 2010, according to tax returns he released Friday.

Now Mr. Ryan did make a great deal of money, over $300,000 adjusted gross income.  But paying a low tax rate is not a partisan issue, Mr. Obama did very nicely too.

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, have released tax returns for the past 12 years, and reported paying 26 percent of their adjusted gross income in federal taxes in 2010 and 20.5 percent last year.

But of course as far as income is concerned both of these professional politicians are dwarfed by Mr. Romney.  And since the U. S. has a highly progressive tax system (just ask any rich person of a Conservative bent, they will swear that is the case) then surely Mr. Romney paid a much higher rates.

Mr. Romney has disclosed less tax information than most other recent presidential candidates — releasing a 2010 return, which showed that he paid 13.9 percent of his adjusted gross income of $21.6 million in federal income taxes, and an estimate of his 2011 taxes.

Mr. Romney has declined repeated urgings to disclose tax returns from other years, but said this week that he had paid an effective rate — the percentage of adjusted income — of least 13 percent in federal taxes in each of the past 10 years.

Unlike others we don’t fault Mr. Romney his low taxes.  We feel confident he has complied with the legal requirements which means that problem is with the tax laws, not Mr. Romney.  But we do fault his attitude.

A decent person in Mr. Romney’s position would acknowledge how fortunate he has been and that a large part of his good fortune is paying low taxes.  Heck a working person pays 7.65% in FICA taxes just to start with, Mr. Romney almost none because he doesn’t get his income by working.  So Mr. Romney should express gratitude and humility, and recognize that no, he and his fellow wealthy brethren are not over taxed and can afford to pay more.

But when it comes to money and taxes Mr. Romney is not a decent person.  His goal in life is to enact tax legislation that will save him millions, over a hundred million if the Estate Tax is repealed.  And that attitude is our problem with Mr. Romney and his taxes.

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