Mitt Romney paid taxes at a rate of at least 13 percent. And he’s proud to say so.

16 Aug
August 16, 2012

Can we stand back and pause a short minute to take in the spectacle of a man who wants to be President of The United States, who wants us to seriously regard him as a paragon of the American civic ideal, declaiming proudly and in public that he has paid his taxes at a third of the rate normally associated with gentlemen of his economic benefit.


Am I supposed to congratulate this man?  Thank him for his good citizenship?  Compliment him for being clever enough to arm himself with enough tax lawyers so that he could legally minimize his obligations?

Thirteen percent.  The last time I paid taxes at that rate, I believe I might still have been in college.  If not, it was my first couple years as a newspaper reporter.  Since then, the paychecks have been just fine, thanks, and I don’t see any reason not to pay at the rate appropriate to my earnings, given that I’m writing the check to the same government that provided the economic environment that allowed for such incomes.

I can’t get over the absurdity of this moment, honestly:  Hey, I never paid less than thirteen percent.  I swear.  And no, you can’t examine my tax returns in any more detail.  But I promise you all, my fellow American citizens, I never once slipped to single digits.  I’m just not that kind of guy.


This republic is just about over, isn’t it?


402 replies
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  1. Bob says:

    Anyone who believes that Romney and Ryan are the answer are not paying attention and were likely in a coma from 2001 to 2008. Their remedy for our economic challenges is more of the same trickle down nonsense that has left this country 16 trillion dollars in debt.

    They propose to crush the lower and middle classes while giving the very wealthiest among us even more tax breaks. Since the days of Reagan, the wealthy have been lobbying for (buying) and receiving tax breaks to the extent that clueless entitled trust fund kids like Mitt Romney can run for President while he tells us how little tax he has paid with a smirk on his face. Our massive debt has come largely from those tax breaks and the slush fund that is our denfese department. And now we have a Presidential candidate that proudly states how he is part of that problem.

    Thanks to David for adding his voice to the public figures who are speaking out about this insanity.

  2. Frank O'Hara says:

    Tax is bad and shouldn’t exist. Everybody should take care of themselves. People who aren’t able to take care of them self should rely on family.

    • David Simon says:

      Anything more on this? Or is that blanket statement on your part a serious one.

      If you are not simply trolling, you might consider moving to Eritrea or certain provinces in northern Pakistan. It’s my understanding that government interference in your endeavors will be at a decided minimum. I am quite sure you can build whatever economic concern you wish in such places free from the constraints of representative government and any awkward social or socioeconomic compact. The lack of personal security or any societal infrastructure whatsoever also come with the territory. But then again, you get the society you pay for and you don’t seem willing to pay for anything at all.

      Again, perhaps you are trolling, in which case, well done, sir. But if you are serious, you should really rethink, for a moment, the fact that there is no difference between your political philosophy, as an grown adult, and whatever half-formed impulses govern the behavior of a four-year-old unwilling to share any toys. Enough of you gathered together is something akin to a libertarian political party. And such a party, empowered, is the end of any nation-state as a first-rate society. We aren’t there yet, but have heart. There are already too many Americans who are too selfish to allow citizenship and patriotism to impede their personal progress. You may one day find whatever paradise you think you are seeking.

      • Daniel Boyette says:

        Bravo good sir. Although Frank could also move to somalia if he really wants to get away from the government. I hear it’s lovely this time of year with the warlords and the pirates.

    • marty says:

      So what if you don’t have family and you are old and disabled? or have cancer and no insurance? What is your answer for that?

  3. Bob Goldschmidt says:

    I am a guy who focuses on ideas rather than prose. But I am witness to the power of the irrational, fate and our feeble attempts to alter same.

    There has always been a conflict throughout US history between the extractive and integrative forces described in “Why Nations Fail”. From the good-ol’-boys of the South to the laboring homesteaders’ attempts to achieve inependence by breaking new ground, we have a traditional dichotomy in our national soul, and these opposing forces have become embodied in our Republican and Democratic parties.

    The good-ol’-boys attempt to set the rules to their advantage (hence Mitt’s 13% tax rate) while the workers, who are the creators of all things of intrinsic value, periodically rise up and take control of the ship of state in order to avoid the reefs.

    In 2008 everyone lost. This is a clear example, not only that our society is in decline, but that it isn’t simply a zero sum game and by changing to a better course, we can all win again. It is up to the workers to rise up again, enabling the creation of another new deal to rescue our ship of state once again.

  4. CAM says:

    But the most bizarre part of his statement was that had he added his charitable giving, it would be near 20%. There is something even more seriously wrong here. It is early 20th century noblesse oblige. This was revealing. It harks back to the time when those on the ‘outs’ of society had to depend on private charities for whatever safety net they could provide. I think this is a basic, if hidden, viewpoint that drives the anti-tax crowd. Taxes, at least those for anything besides defense and infrastructure, is like giving to charity. But it’s not voluntary and the donor can’t decide where it goes.

  5. Goran Duk says:

    “No David, the Republic is not almost over. It has survived much worse. Every once in a while, pessimists like you will talk about how our country is going to hell in a handbasket. Just remember, that the garbage bin of history is filled with people who have underestimated the strength of the United States.”

    It’s funny, I have always believed this basic idea. People love a good doomsday scenario, and conspiracy theories help make dull lives more interesting and lively. Yet, why is it that doomsday is always in the eye of the beholder? I know so many people who said, “if Obama wins in 2008, goodbye America.” Yet – what’s this – I’m still here, with a working computer, posting my opinion on the Internet without fear of being arrested. And now I’m hearing from these same people, “well if Obama wins 2016, THEN it’s all over for Americanism and freedom.”

    The point in my mind is about quality of living. America will likely stand for quite some time to come, just as it’d be nearly impossible to kill all human beings. But obviously if nukes drop, living isn’t gonna be quite the same thing. And in the same manner, countries are not static. They do change, and sometimes for the worse. Sometimes in extreme ways. And sure, they can bounce back. Germany is a great example of this… I’ll avoid the Nazi references but just look at the starting and ends points and everything in between 1930-1950. Look at Rwanda, or hell, look at Great Britain pre-9/11 and now. The Aztecs are a great example of how a society can actually just completely end, as well. Ever been to Tenochtitlan? I hear it has wonderful weather around this time of year, and that it’s one of the great technical marvels in all of human history.

    In short, for all of America’s problems, it CAN get worse – significantly worse. Inequality can grow. Freedoms can be restricted. The checks and balances on which this country is founded can be removed (and I believe we’re ultimately founded on the idea of checks and balances, not “freedom” as that’s too nebulous of a word without clarification).

    And if you look at the past 30 years, I’d argue the worst case scenario has already happened in some regards. The middle class has taken a beating. People my age (20s) who are just now entering the working world are working harder and longer for less. Glass Steagall is kaput and I’d argue we paid for it dearly in less than a decade since 1999. The Patriot Act continues to survive and it costs money and puts us on a very slippery slope that could lead to even larger changes down the road. Our deficit is at 15 trillion and growing. I’d say quality of living has gone down for the average American. Is that something to be proud of? No. Is it the end of America as we know it? Of course not, but then again, very few things in life come to sudden dramatic ends. Usually it’s one step at a time, and each step hurts but isn’t vital. And after a few decades you look back and ask, “how did we get here?”

    Nothing lasts forever, regardless of the fact that some people are too eager to believe we’re always at the end. We can’t just say, “thank GOD for the founding fathers that they created this great system.” We should say, “if we didn’t have this system, could we have created it from scratch?” Because it’s that kind of thinking that helps move a society forward rather than backwards. In my opinion a first world country is literally first world because of the strength of its middle class, and the small size of its lower class and its ability to decrease poverty and to not want to accept poverty as status quo. Almost every country in the world – even the worst of the worst – has a rich class or a class in power that’s doing alright for themselves. You pretty much have to go to Somalia levels to find a place where this isn’t really true (as far as I know), and even there – hey, at least there’s no pesky government to hold people back, right?

    I think as long as we culturally value the idea of power over compassion, we’re going to keep heading the wrong direction. Poverty will grow, the middle class will shrink, a sense of community will fade except for vague mentions of religion, and the country will be a worse place to live, to grow up, to make a life for yourself. We also have to stop using money as a way to define a human being’s value. Being rich doesn’t make you a bad person, but it doesn’t make you a good person. It’s irrelevant to ones morality and impact on the world. There are all sorts of ways that a person can be “successful,” and some of them don’t involve being famous or making millions of dollars or climbing the corporate ladder. A man like van Gogh would be completely worthless in the eyes of some Americans, and I think that’s a shame. We don’t all think the same way, and just because we all have goals we want to reach doesn’t mean we all have the same goals.

  6. KPRyan says:

    Romney’s IRA features over $100,000,000. Yet, we were told when we opened our IRA’s that the most we could deposit per year was $2,000. That number has been gradually increased over the last few years, though it is more likely to build your own rocket ship and fly to the moon than it is to grow your IRA to more than one hundred million dollars in a lifetime. Of course though, the rules are a bit different for the ultra rich… they can (for instance) buy a company, issue stock and value it at next to nothing (even though that’s not what it is really worth) and then deposit this obscenely misvalued stock into their IRAs in order to have a nice ‘nest egg’ to draw upon come retirement.

    Obviously this is the system Romney used.

    He’s as corrupt as the political system that gives us the phony ‘democrat/republican’ 3 card monte game. I’m sure as hell not voting for Romney, but I’ll have a very difficult time voting for the other ass who still thinks nothing of locking away Americans and Foreigners (humans!) in far away prisons until they are forgotten by all but their fathers and mothers and children; the ass who takes joy from selecting targets for the US’s drone war campaign on humans; the ass who is fundamentally a clone in many respects of the evil bastard Georgie Junior.

    As usual, the establishment gives us Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee candidates and tells us to choose the best of the worst to ‘lead’ us for another 4 years.

    Thanks anyway.

    I want this decades vesion of JFK.

    I just don’t think he or she exists in American politics today.


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