Election 2012

Mitt Romney: Makin’ It on the “Real Streets”

While Mitt Romney's 2010 tax return reveals that he only pays an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent, it also reveals several other things which may stick to the wall longer than simply paying a low rate.

Romney makes more in a day than the average American makes in a year, and becomes a 1 percenter every week: As Bloomberg News notes, “In 2008, according to the IRS, the median adjusted gross income was $33,048, which Romney made in less than a day. Reaching the top 1 percent of taxpayers required $380,354 in adjusted gross income, about Romney’s earnings in a week.”

Romney paid almost nothing in payroll taxes: Romney contributed just 0.1 percent of his income to Social Security and Medicare in 2010 via the payroll tax because the tax is only assessed on earned wages, but all of Romney’s income came from investments. Most working Americans pay 7.65 percent.

Romney has accounts in countries notorious for tax dodging: By now, it’s well known by now that Romney invests in funds based in the Cayman Islands, but Romney’s returns were “crammed with information about foreign holdings” and reveal that he held accounts in Switzerland and Luxembourg, countries famous for hiding money thanks their low taxes and strict banking secrecy laws. Aides said he closed his Swiss account in 2010 because it might have been “politically embarrassing.”

To recap -- he earns enough to become part of the 1 percent every single week, he pays nothing in payroll because the overwhelming majority of his income is from dividends, and the Cayman Islands was only the tip of the iceberg. And this what can be gleamed from only one year. He is not releasing returns from his years at Bain.

I doubt the typical tax return of your average 1 percenter looks radically different than Romney's return, however Mitt Romney is running for president.

Does that distinction matter? I believe it does.

The first family are not poor people by any definition, however they weren't always so fortunate. President Obama was not born into wealth, nor does he hold large sums of money in foreign territories known for being tax-havens.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, sits outside of the real economy looking inward through foggy glass with his off-shored wealth, unearned income, and low tax rate all while sermonizing about hard work and makin' it on the "real streets" of America. He transcended the experience of your typical American the day he was born, and now he wants to solidify a system rigged in favor of himself and others like him.

The life experiences, and the merits of them, of President Obama and Mitt Romney are as big of a contrast as their governing philosophy. President Obama understands what the average American is facing because he has been there, while Mitt Romney defines austerity as spending the summer in a french mansion staffed by a personal chef and a house boy. President Obama says we need an economy that works for everyone, while Mitt Romney says corporations are people too.