Mitt Romney proved this week that he really isn’t like most Americans.
“I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years,” Romney said on a tarmac after landing for a fundraiser in Greer, S.C. on Thursday. “I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. So I paid taxes every single year.”
Romney was responding to a pledge he made last month during an interview with ABC News, saying he would be “happy to go back and look” at his tax rate over the last decade, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accused Romney of paying no taxes at all during that period.
Reid admittedly was passing along information he had heard and never really did his homework to see if Romney really hadn’t paid taxes and that probably wasn’t Reid’s real point.
What he wanted to do was pressure Romney into revealing more than the two years of tax returns. The presumptive Republican nominee has said he would only reveal his 2010 and 2011 returns.
Romney released his 2010 tax return in January, which revealed he paid 13.9 percent in federal taxes on $21.7 million in income. This does not include personal property or sales taxes.
Because most of Romney’s income comes from investments, which is taxed at a lower rate (15 percent) than regular income, he pays a much lower tax rate than most Americans.
Therein lies the problem.
Romney has done nothing illegal and, like most Americans, he – or rather his accountants – looks for every opportunity to pay as little in taxes as possible. He simply has more opportunities than most to beat the tax man. And that’s his version of normal.
If that $21 million had come from regular wages, Romney would be at the top tax rate of 35 percent.
Instead, not only is the 15 percent really, really low on a substantial amount of money, but it’s lower than what most Americans pay. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the average American paid a tax rate of 17.9 percent in 2009 and you can bet it’s on a much lower income than Romney’s.
So does the average really need to know how much Romney earned every year for the last 10 years?
If his effective rate hovers between 13 and 15 percent, doesn’t that establish that Romney isn’t like most Americans? And does it really matter? Is his income important in determining whether he would be a good president?
He certainly wouldn’t be the first rich, or at least affluent, man in the White House. What does matter is whether he would pursue policies that would benefit the great majority of Americans.
While he claims to have his own tax plan, it largely mirrors that of congressional Republicans who have decided to cut taxes and spending, regardless of whom it hurts – even some of their own presumed constituencies – rather than raise personal income taxes for the wealthy or find some other non-income taxes to balance the budget.
His running mate, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), has proposed a budget that would cut Medicare spending and foster a market-based health care system, and would make stringent cuts in federal agencies across the board that would, over the next decade, affect air traffic safety, road and bridge repairs and pollution reduction, which affects asthma rates – a particular area of concern for black Americans. Those cuts, if approved, would shift the way we live from enduring minor inconveniences to facing real threats to the way we maintain our health and safety long after a Romney-Ryan team left office, even if they were to win two terms.
That largely would fall on the backs of middle- and lower-income people.
What Romney pays in taxes may give voters some insight into how much or how little he gets problems with the economy and Americans’ earning power – before and after taxes – but it’s just an opening to encourage voters to dig deeper into his agenda for the country.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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