Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oh Noes! Romney tax rate at 15%!

Google "Romney 15%." Go ahead, try it. Or google "Romney tax rate." Look at all those people pontificating on the subject. They're everywhere. Even at the Wall Street Journal. The outrage is brimming over. Then there's the money Romney made through speaking engagements. Outrageous! Has the man no shame? How dare he pay that tax rate! How dare he earn that kind of money giving speeches!



The reasons for Romney's low rate is clearly explained by Derek Thompson at the Atlantic. And if you've hearing about capital gains all day long, you're just getting part of the story:
As Pat Garofalo explained for The Atlantic, a considerable portion of Romney's income comes from a retirement deal with Bain Capital that continues to pay him a small share of the firm's profits. The wonky term for this cool stream of money is "carried interest" -- the share of investor gains "carried" by the private equity or hedge fund manager.
Now, this all probably seems unfair to many--and maybe it is--but it's hardly scandalous. It's a consequence of the system as it's been set up. Romney's not gaming it, at all, in this regard.

And let's be honest: this is only an issue because of the know-nothing attacks on Bain Capital. Think back to 2004. How much flack did Kerry get for the rate he was paying? A little, maybe. But from who? His fellow democrats and progressives in the media? Nope, sorry. What was his rate, you ask? Why, it was a whopping 12%. And where is Arianna Huffington, when you need her? I seem to recall the the populist-tripe spewing firebrand paid no taxes in several years, thanks to various deductions and loopholes.

So now we're supposed to be outraged that Romney paid 15% in taxes? Hey, at least he paid it. As to Romney's speaking fees, if they'll pay why not take the gig? Bill Clinton has earned some $65 million in speaking fees, since leaving office. I don't care. If people want to pay him to speak, so be it.

This is alll such a pointless sideshow (thanks for that, Newt), it obscures--as usual--real issues, significant issues. And our wistful media is more than happy to go along with the game.

Cheers, all.

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