The reason Mitt Romney’s tax returns are such a big deal is precisely because it cuts to the core of the big debate we’re having in America right now: Are the rich paying their fair share in taxes? Mitt Romney and Republicans say they’re already overburdened with taxes these wealthy people, and the only way to resolve this problem and thus fix the economy is to cut taxes on these “job creators” so they can rain cash on all the worker bees. That’s the Republican argument.
You’ve heard of the 1% … well let me introduce you to the .001%.
But in REALITY – the really rich are actually paying very little in taxes as a % of their income. In fact – if you factor in state and local and real estate and all the other taxes … it’s not even close. But just sticking to federal taxes (without payroll taxes) …. America’s wealthiest are often times paying very little in taxes. 6 Americans in the top 400 wealthiest American group actually paid ZERO in taxes. ZERO.
And until Romney does show his tax returns – one must assume logically that his tax returns would be so damaging that he’d rather keep taking the hits publicly regarding his tax returns than show the dead bodies he has hidden in there. But the issue isn’t going away.
The NY Times explains the research it did on the top 400 wealthiest Americans HERE:
It so happens that this summer the Internal Revenue Service released data from the 400 individual income tax returns reporting the highest adjusted gross income. This elite ultrarich group earned on average $202 million in 2009, the latest year available. And buried in the data is the startling disclosure that six of the 400 paid no federal income tax.
And that data demonstrates that many of the ultrarich can and do reduce their tax liability to very low levels, even zero. Besides the six who paid no federal income tax, the I.R.S. reported that 27 paid from zero to 10 percent of their adjusted gross incomes and another 89 paid between 10 and 15 percent, which is close to the 13.9 percent rate that Mr. Romney disclosed that he paid in 2010. (At the other end of the spectrum, 82 paid 30 to 35 percent. None paid more than 35 percent.) So more than a quarter of the people earning an average of over $200 million in 2009 paid less than 15 percent of their adjusted gross income in taxes.
We’ve written on this before. Most people do not understand that the average worker is actually paying 50% more in taxes than a person making an average of $200 million a year – we explain that HERE.
Matt Taibbi explains how the rules are different for them and us HERE:
“The Romney tax returns are a prime example of our increasingly two-tiered bureaucratic system, in which there is one set of rules for poor and middle-class people, and another set of rules for people like Mitt Romney. The most common method of giving preferential treatment to the rich is through semantics. The old classic was that you called a rich kid blowing coke in his dorm room one thing, and you called a black street kid smoking crack something else, and the two got different penalties for the same crime – cocaine use.
Or, and this one is still true in some states, the rich white kid who uses a fake ID to get into a club gets hit with a misdemeanor and a fine, while an immigrant who uses a fake ID to get a job at a chicken plant gets dragged in for a felony and can get up to 15 years in jail. Both offenses are simple forgery, but one is also called felony fraud and you get real prison time for it. In Mitt’s case, the money you and I make to support ourselves is called income and is taxed up to 35 percent, but the money Mitt makes raiding companies with borrowed money and extracting draconian management fees from captive companies that have no choice but to pay them is called “Carried Interest,” and taxed at a top rate of 15%.”
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