Ah - Mitt, trying to shield himself from all that money.
Mitt has gotten his mitts in the ringer lately over the issue of his tax returns and his clumsy handing of the issue more than likely cost him the South Carolina primary.
And is as usually the case, there are many out there mis-characterizing the issue
I find it very taxing.
Brian Kilmeade (pictured on the left) from FOX and Friends had this to say after the controversy over releasing the tax returns took a turn for the worse for Mitt:
One thing about Mitt Romney - he's rich. And, most people know it. And I guess that's one of the reasons he doesn't want to release his tax returns because there seems to be a war on success in this country....
Romney added during the latest debate - I'm not going to apologize for being successful.
The litany of those using the above logic along with the class warfare drumbeat is endless. At the end of the day, they are missing the point entirely. In other words - I say bullshit.
Americans don't give a crap if Romney is rich nor is anyone expecting him to apologize for being wealthy. God bless him if he was able to make some scratch. The issue is not how much Mitt made - it was how much Mitt paid (or as we at the blog call them - his re-mitt-tances).
First, Americans don't hate the rich. If we did, wouldn't we hate all rich people? See, no one hates Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, Steven Speilberg, Tom Hanks, etc. etc because they're rich. The FOX and Fiends folks, Rush, Billy O, Sean of the Dead and the rest of the right wing pundits know that. However, we do hate folks who don't pay a fair share of taxes. See, Mitt only pays around 15% on his income because it is primarily derived from investments. Gains on investment are taxed at the capital gains rate of 15%, not the rates most Americans pay of their income.
Here are the 2010 Tax Rate schedules (rounded):
Tax Rate Single Married
10% $0 thru $8,400 $0 thru $16,800
15% $8,400 to $34,000 $16,800 to $68,000
25% $34,000 to $82,000 $68,000 to $137,000
28% $82,000 to 172,000 $137,000 to 209,000
33% $172,000 to $374,000 $209,000 to $374,000
35% over $374,000 over $374,000
So, if you are single person, once you make $34K you and Mitt on in the same tax bracket. It's $68K if you are married.
Now some would say that there are Mitt-a-gating circumstances. For example. ordinary folks get to deduct a lot of stuff from their income like home interest, medical expenses and other items and they get exemptions for their dependents - things you don't get for Capital Gains. Regardless, at the end of the day, over the last decade, Americans have paid an average of between 17% and 20% of their income in taxes. And that does not even account for the 7.65% social security tax that Mitt does not pay on his capital gains.
When he heard Newt, Perry and Santorum calling for the release of his taxes - you know what was going though his mind (Dudes - we discussed this. You're screwing the pooch here - remember?? - we weren't going to talk about this in front of the children).
Too late - the cat is out of the bag. It's going to be this simple - why the fuck should one person a rate of 25% on an income of $100,000 and another fella pay a rate of only 15% on income of $100 million dollars - cause we call them different things????? Naw, that ain't going to be good enough anymore.
How about this for my friends who want tax simplification. Let's just call income - income. Get rid of the Capital Gains rate and treat all income as ordinary income and allow those who get their income from Capital Gains to take the same deductions that folks who make ordinary income are allowed. Everyone pays the same rate. Pretty simple I think. I believe that Mitt may not endorse this simplification program. I can just just hear my good buddy James Carville now:
Or - something like that. I do believe this. Mitt may be on wounded knee now - but if he continues to believe it is fundamentally fair that he pays a lower percentage in taxes then most Americans - well, he soon won't have a leg to stand on.