I agree with David Simon about Mitt Romney’s “I paid at least 13 percent” line on his taxes. Excerpt:
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?
I’m not blaming Romney for taking advantage of every legal avenue to reducing his tax burden. I would do the same if I were in his shoes. In fact, we have a financial adviser who helps us minimize our tax burden every year. Because of my book deal, I’m making a significantly higher salary this year than usual — not in the same universe as Romney’s annual income, though, and even after the best tax advice, I’m paying a far greater percentage of my income to the government than he is. I hate it, but you know, this is a good problem to have. I wish I had this problem every year.
What Simon is getting at is Romney is an extremely rich man who pays significantly less of a percentage of his income in taxes than millions of people who make far less than he does, and he still seems to think he deserves a cookie. I’m sick and tired of him and his wife whining about how people are so mean to them about their taxes:
In an interview on NBC’s “Rock Center” that was broadcast Thursday night, Ann Romney stood by her husband’s refusal, saying that further releases would simply provide “ammunition” for Democrats.
“The more we get attacked, the more we get questioned, the more we get pushed,” Mrs. Romney said. “There’s going to be no more tax releases given. Mitt is honest. His integrity is just golden.”
Oh, so that settles it, then. More:
In an interview last month, Mr. Romney was asked whether he had ever paid a tax rate lower than the 13.9 percent he paid in 2010.
“I haven’t calculated that,” he told David Muir of ABC News. “I’m happy to go back and look, but my view is I’ve paid all the taxes required by law.”
He may be 100 percent right. Which is the problem. Some conservatives crack on Romney for not having come up by now with an effective response to criticism about his extreme wealth and how out of touch that may or may not make him with average Americans. I hear them, but honestly, in an economy as bad as this one, I don’t see any way for a man worth $200 million to talk comfortably about how it’s really okay that he paid such a small percentage of his income in taxes.