Newt Gingrich has really done a number on the Mitt Romney campaign. This past week, Gingrich jabbed at Romney so hard that his tax returns came loose…
Mitt Romney offered a partial snapshot of his vast personal fortune late Monday, disclosing income of $21.7 million in 2010 and $20.9 million last year — virtually all of it profits, dividends or interest from investments. None came from wages, the primary source of income for most Americans. Instead, Romney and his wife, Ann, collected millions in capital gains from a profusion of investments, as well as stock dividends and interest payments. The couple gave away $7 million in charitable contributions over the past two years, including at least $4.1 million to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…
The Romneys sent somewhat less to Washington over that period, paying an estimated $6.2 million in federal income taxes. According to his 2010 return, Romney paid about $3 million to the IRS, for an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent.
Breaking news: Romney is a very wealthy man, paying a relatively low effective tax rate, and your reaction to this information will be premeditated by prior ideological beliefs.
Romney pays taxes at a lower rate than some middle-class taxpayers because our laws give preferential treatment to capital income. At some point, everyone including Romney, earns wages that are taxed using the full income tax schedule. If that post-tax income is invested, rather than consumed on booze and hookers, the returns on that investment are withheld lightly to avoid double-taxation. And say what you will about Mormon mannequins, but they have little use for booze and hookers.
Alternatively, Romney's returns show that supply-side, trickle-down tax cuts end up "trickling down" to bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, where — because they're people too, my friends — Romney's blind trusts are vacationing. And though criticizing the Swiss holdings of the ultra-wealthy is probably proof that you hate America (somehow), it's difficult to justify regressive tax cuts as job-creation measures when the money ends up in Lugano instead of Louisville.
But whatever you think of tax policy, don't weep for Mitt! On the day he declared himself unemployed, Romney earned 120,000 barely-taxable dollars.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Ann Romney, Mitt Romney, Money, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans, Switzerland, Taxes