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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Multimillion Mitt's mess

When Rupert Murdoch takes a swipe at you over taxes, you have a problem. And when Multimillion Mitt is paying a rate equal to someone earning $17,000 to $69,000, that problem is huge.

Mitt Romney's acknowledgment that he pays "closer to 15 percent" is sure to revive the income inequality debate that finally took flight during the Occupy Wall Street fall campaign. And for a man who has shown remarkable tone deafness to questions of privilege, this one may take the cake.

It's not as if Romney is doing something illegal, as his defenders are quick to point out. But the fact the "unemployed" man has been able to live comfortably off the proceeds of deals made up to two decades ago puts a very real face to the problem of the "carried interest."

That's the tax law provision that which allow venture capitalists a share of any profits that the general partners of private equity and hedge funds receive as compensation, despite not contributing any initial funds. And the 15 percent rate on dividends and capital gains they pay is well below the 35 percent top rate on income ordinary Americans face.

As Robert McIntyre, the director of Citizens for Tax Justice, says:
“The low taxes on capital gains and dividends are why people who make a ton of money, which is largely from investment income, do awfully well. The Warren Buffetts, the hedge fund managers — they pay really low tax rates.”
Romney only compounded his problem by dismissing the $375,000 earned from speaking fees in 2010 as "not very much."

Barack Obama, who paid an estimated 26 percent rate on his salary and book proceeds, was surely going to make the issue of income inequality a centerpiece of his fall campaign. That Republicans have started that argument for him has likely been met with unbounded glee in the Obama camp.

And I suspect Mitt would not want to bet $10,000 on that.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed reading your blurbs over the years, it's kind of like being in the enemies trenches in WWI. One thing I've noticed lately is that you seldom trumpet progressive triumphs anymore, focusing instead on perpetuating the "air" of a partisan antimoniuos negative atmoshpere. It's not good for you to always be so negative, nothing nice to say? (Then I can be negative)

January 18, 2012 11:39 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

But I'm not "outraged" by progressive triumphs :-) Fair point though and appreciate the feedback.

January 18, 2012 7:53 PM  

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