Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tidbits Tackles: Romney, Taxes and Obama

Wow. Did y'all watch the State of the Union address last night? It's kind of funny (you'll see why by the end of this post) how things work out. Being at my new job has given me the pleasure of becoming more informed about our current events (more or less, regarding mainly the economy and politics---HEY, baby steps is what it's all about). Ok, so yesterday, when I read an article on the Wall Street Journal about Mitt Romney's release of tax information, I felt the need to input my own tidbit on it. I wrote a ~~very~~ rough draft of it. Here's how it went:

Mitt Romney
~~~Today, Mitt Romney's tax information has been disclosed. According to a WSJ article, Romney's effective tax rate is 14%, on an income of $21.7 million, after his tax-deductible charitable contributions and other sources of income have been taken into consideration.
Romney's taxes paid totaled around $3 million, which is a lot...IF you think about the amount as a number, not as a percentage of his total income. When I read and found out the total amount in taxes Romney paid versus the percentage of the whole---how the numbers look different "aesthetically"---I suspected immediately that his campaign would focus on the dollar amount rather than on the percentage. Let's face it: $3 million looks way BIGGER than 14% at first glance. And according to Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, it seems very likely that they will focus on the dollar amount paid (oh, and definitely on the charitable contributions)---rather than on the tax rate itself---to make Mitt Romney even more presentable and appealing to the nation.
I wasn't very surprised by his tax rate or anything---we all expected it (Krugman), even Mr. Romney himself had given a roundabout estimate of 15%---and I don't mind that the tax rate I pay, even if it may be higher than his. But I do have a question---and I'm hoping a lot of curious minds want to know too: why has Romney only agreed to show two years' worth of tax information? I don't wanna sound like I'm nosy or in disbelief, but how do we know that Mr. Romney didn't just (and Krugman says it best) sanitize "his portfolio in preparation for his presidential run?"
Let it be known, the reason I'm talking about Romney and his taxes is not because I envy his wealth and success---believe me, if I had as much money as Mr. Romney does, I'd still be asking the same questions---but I really do believe in that saying "with great power comes great responsibility," and in a perfect world, the wealthier folk feel it is their civic duty and responsibility to contribute more proportionately back to their nation for the better of mankind.~~~
Yes, that had been my original intention for this post. That last paragraph, I know, Spiderman comes to mind when I say that phrase, but, I don't think I was far off from what President Obama expressed last night. Jared Bernstein provides a nice summary of President Obama's address last night, and I especially love the excerpt from the SOTU that Bernstein posted:
"We don't begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it's not because they envy the rich. It's because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don't need and the country can't afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference---like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That's not right. Americans know it's not right. They know that this generation's success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to their country's future, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel the same sense of shared responsibility."
Well said, President Obama. Below is the entire SOTU, the "enhanced" version. Watch it if you'd like.

And with that, I guess I'll be quiet on this subject, for now. If you have anything you'd like to say in response, please feel free to, but let's keep it reasonable---no attacks necessary. And by no means am I implying that I'm good at this whole current events/Economics/politics thing. From time to time, I'll post "Tidbits Tackles" segments: I'm attempting to tackle various subjects. I'm definitely open to others' points of view. (Oh, and btw, Tackles has an -s because I'm using it as a noun, not a verb, in the title. {That was bothering me.})

Note: Photo of Mitt Romney courtesy of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) photostream on Flickr.

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