“Probably closer to the 15% rate,” said Mitt.

I have to admit, even as cynical as I can sometimes be, I really didn’t expect Mitt’s tax returns to be this… illustrative.  Yes, I fully expected them to be a clear example of why the Buffet Rule is going to be contrasted all summer with the newly-coined alternative, the “Romney Rule.”    We all knew that Mitt has been basically “unemployed” for the last five years, unless you count running for president, and as a result, most of his income would come from investments.  We knew that.

So, sure, we knew that Mitt would probably be using a provision called Carried Interest to reduce his tax burden to somewhere around 15%, while many working Americans pay somewhere between 20-28%.  And that’s a problem for Mitt.  Because while almost all liberals and moderates and even many conservatives  and even Adam Fricking Smith believe in a progressive tax structure, very few people, if any, would ever suggest a regressive tax structure.

Let’s remember here what the supposedly conservative position is on taxes.  The Flat Tax.  Meaning, everyone pays the same rate.  So what we have now is a situation that makes the flat tax seem liberal.

And make no mistake, the Romney Rule is regressive.  It basically says that people like Mitt Romney who have risen to a certain level of wealth and can afford to simply let their money work for them, should pay a lower tax rate than the people who provide services and make things.

But we knew all that.  Mitt told us so himself, remember:

Now, when you heard Mitt say, “probably closer to the 15% rate” didn’t you kind of figure he meant around 16% or maybe 17%?  That would still be much lower than any progressive tax structure would call for.  It is still even lower than a flat tax would call for.

The natural interpretation of Mitt’s statement that his tax rates are “probably closer to the 15% rate” is that he meant, “probably closer to the 15% rate than what most people pay.”  Right?  So, 16%, maybe 17%?  Right?


Apparently, Mitt meant that his tax rate is “probably closer to the 15% rate than my preferred rate of 0%.”  Because, as it turns out, Mitt paid 13.9% on his income from 2010.  This is just extraordinary.

I’ve been accused of creating a Straw Man argument when I have said that conservatives think rich people should pay 15% taxes while poor people should pay more.  But it turns out my supposed Straw Man argument was too generous to the actual Romney position.


Author: Wiesman

Husband, father, video game developer, liberal, and perpetual Underdog.

2 thoughts on ““Probably closer to the 15% rate,” said Mitt.”

  1. Romney advisers stressed that the holdings in the Caymans — along with those in a Swiss bank account that was closed in 2010 after an investment adviser decided it could be politically embarrassing to Romney — were reported on tax returns and were not vehicles to avoid taxes.

    Well, of course he closed his Swiss bank account. He’s running for office, for Pete’s sake.

  2. This capital gains tax rate argument has grown tiresome. Mitt didn’t invent these silly tax laws. Everyone pays too much tax, even poor Mitt.


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