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Monday, August 20, 2012

A question for Mitt Romney


Pasfield Stop-n-Save. This is one of many little grocery stores that seem to be popping up all over town in the last couple years.

* I have reviewed all 203 pages of Mitt Romney's 2010 tax return, which he released. I am not a tax expert by any means. Although, as someone who has done all my own tax returns from age 16 (when the short form was a short form, as in a half page) to date, and a few other people's off and on throughout the years, I find that with a little reading, I am able to understand what goes into a tax return. And even though Mitt's return had a lot forms I hadn't seen before, I got it. There was nothing mysterious there, except for a few blank pages from his supposed trusts.

I do not envy him his money. I am glad he is rich. I hope he is happy. I mean that most sincerely.

First, a few basic facts. His adjusted gross income was a little over $21,600,000. After deductions and exemptions, his taxable income was $17,000,000. His forms included two Schedule Cs, for about $600,000 in business income (speaking engagements and directorship), and the rest of his income was from interest, dividends, and capital gains. His deductions included one household employee for about $20,000.

He paid $3,000,000 in federal income taxes on his income.

His 2010 tax number is 13.9%. For comparison purposes, my own 2010 tax number was 10.43%, which I think I may have mentioned before. And, my 2011 tax number was 11.12%. All of my income was from wages, not that it matters, but in case anyone is curious.

Now the question for Mitt Romney. Actually, questions. Where are the jobs you created? How many jobs? What kinds? Who got them? In what industry? Are you hiring? You made over $20,000,000 in one year, and I didn't see anything about jobs created in your tax return. And, I'm not talking about jobs at your attorney's and accountant's offices.

For the last four years we've heard all about the federal tax rates and how important it is to keep those rates low for the upper income earners so they can create jobs. We're keeping their tax rates low so they can create jobs.

I hope I don't sound petty. I am trying not to. This is not meant to be a gotcha question. I really want to know. I hope it's clear what I'm getting at. I hope I asked it right. I hope it comes up in the presidential debates.

* Be thankful I don't take it all.

Posted by Marie at August 20, 2012 10:46 PM


Are there any details on the sources of income?

Posted by: Dave E. Author Profile Page at August 21, 2012 9:20 PM

Yes. Are you thinking letting someone else or a corporation use his money answers the question? Here are screenshots of his interest, dividends, and capital gains. As you can see, most of the money comes from income earned by his trusts. (Sorry I can't make these linkable.)





Posted by: Marie Author Profile Page at August 21, 2012 10:13 PM

Marie-Thanks for the links and sorry I didn't get back to them quicker.

It looks like the vast majority of his income was capital gains with more as interest/dividends. I have no idea how to quantify how many jobs were supported by Romney holding and trading his interests in various companies. I have no doubt that jobs were sustained and/or created though.

I think I understand what you want to know, but it's certainly not answerable in specifics from that info, though you might be able to get a vague figure with many more details.

I'm not going for a gotcha question either. We could have a good discussion around this I think.

I'd say it's pretty well known and predictable how tax rates on capital gains and interest/dividends affect investors. Is your goal more government revenue or a perceived fairer tax rate? Because if I remember correctly, even candidate Obama back in 2008 recognized that a higher rate would lead to lower actual government revenue.

Posted by: Dave E. Author Profile Page at August 25, 2012 10:41 PM

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Dave. I agree. It's very difficult to tell anything from his income. It's not like he's listed gains made on blue chip companies or even payback on seed money for a start-up business. You could look at those kinds of things and say, oh yeah, that's a pretty good indication of jobs maintained or created.

Mitt Romney has touted his experience at creating jobs. We have a good idea of how he created jobs before becoming governor. I didn't follow his governorship, but I can imagine that some jobs did get created in Massachusetts that he could claim credit for.

But, what about since he left his governor job? Is that not a fair question for someone who has clearly benefited from a low tax rate? We've kept taxes so low all these years so jobs could be created. I feel like I'm missing some element of the question here.

Posted by: Marie Author Profile Page at August 25, 2012 11:28 PM

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