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Mitt Romney’s Taxes

Anyone who was planning to vote against Mitt Romney because he’s greedy and won’t release his tax returns should take note that he has now released yet another year of returns and that they reveal he’s an extraordinarily generous man who has given away a large chunk of his wealth. He’s not nearly so generous with his money as Barack Obama, who would selflessly redistribute every last penny of Romney’s wealth, but it’s a remarkable record of philanthropy nonetheless.

The more egalitarian types will be appalled that Romney made $13.7 million last year, and further appalled that the mere $1.94 million he paid in federal income taxes was only 14.1 percent of it, but those who read further into the stories about it should grudgingly acknowledge that the more than $4 million that he donated to various charities is a right neighborly gesture. Also worth noting, although buried toward the bottom of most reports, is that Romney actually paid more taxes than he was legally required to because he did not claim a deduction on most of his charitable giving. This is in stark contrast to the famously empathetic Bill Clinton, who was so meticulous in his tax preparations that he even deducted the value of the used underwear he donated to some charity that deals in such items.

Still, Romney probably didn’t pay enough to satisfy the cravings of his critics, most of whom will require several lifetimes in order to contribute $1.94 million to the government’s operations. They’ll note that most of the money Romney made was derived from capital gains on his many shrewd investments, and complain that capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than other income. The historical fact that a higher capital gains rate results in less economic activity that employs people and thus results in less money for the government will be overruled by their peculiar notion of fairness.

Critics will further quibble that Romney hasn’t provided 20 years of tax returns, which for no particular reason is the new standard of financial candor, but Romney has provided that information to the Price Waterhouse Coopers firm and they stake their valuable reputation on a report that he has paid 38.49 percent of his adjusted gross income to the federal government. This amounts to many millions of dollars, and although that might not be enough to satisfy the covetousness of the modern egalitarian is certain proves that Sen. Harry Reid was peddling a slanderous lie when he took to the Senate floor to allege that Romney had paid no income taxes at all.

Other people’s income tax filings don’t have the voyeuristic appeal for us that they seem to have for other folks, but what we’ve gleaned from Romney’s forms make us think that he’s not such a bad fellow after all.

— Bud Norman

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