Friday, September 21, 2012
Democrats, Media Get Punk'd: Romney Releases Tax Returns
By Guy Benson
It's official: The Romney campaign possesses a wicked sense of humor and an enviable degree of patience. After months of caterwauling, breathless innuendo and baseless slander, the Democrats and their media allies are being treated to a Friday feast of piping hot crow. The Romney campaign has released a detailed report of the the candidate's 2011 tax returns, as well as an extensive summary of the Romneys' taxes over the last two decades, prepared by analysts at PricewaterhouseCoopers. What do these documents contain? Brad Malt, the Romney family's trustee, summarizes the 2011 data:
- In 2011, the Romneys paid $1,935,708 in taxes on $13,696,951 in mostly investment income.
- The Romneys’ effective tax rate for 2011 was 14.1%.
-The Romneys donated $4,020,772 to charity in 2011, amounting to nearly 30% of their income.
-The Romneys claimed a deduction for $2.25 million of those charitable contributions. The Romneys’ generous charitable donations in 2011 would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year. The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor's statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.
In short, and as Kevin noted, Romney forked over nearly $2 million to Uncle Sam last year and donated more than $4 million to charity. He overpaid his taxes by limiting the charitable deductions he chose to claim, which could have driven his obligations to government even lower. Liberals are now actually complaining that Romney intentionally paid *too much* in taxes to boost his own effective rate, due to his prodigious philanthropic giving. This line of criticism is downright hilarious. It's okay to point and laugh. And what about the last 20 years?
- In each year during the entire 20-year period, the Romneys owed both state and federal income taxes.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the average annual effective federal tax rate was 20.20%.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the lowest annual effective federal personal tax rate was 13.66%.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the Romneys gave to charity an average of 13.45% of their adjusted gross income.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the total federal and state taxes owed plus the total charitable donations deducted represented 38.49% of total AGI.
-During the 20-year period covered by the PWC letter, Gov. and Mrs. Romney paid 100 percent of the taxes that they owed.
Let's unpack these numbers. The Romneys owed and paid state and federal income taxes every single year stretching back to at least 1990. Harry Reid's imaginary friend is unavailable for comment. Their effective tax rate, on average, was over 20 pecent (nearly double the average effective rate in America, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation). Does this qualify as a "fair share"? In the last two decades, the Romney's donated 13.45 percent of their adjusted gross income to charity. This totally dwarfs the long-term giving of the Obamas and the Bidens, in case anyone in the class warfare camp is keeping score. But remember, Mitt Romney is callously dismissive and uncaring toward poor people and the '47 percent.' Overall, the Romney family paid every cent they owed -- and more -- forking over nearly 40 percent of their income to either the government or charitable organizations, including their church. I've got to hand it to the Romney campaign: They played a long game here, and did so masterfully. One of the most obnoxious and relentless arrows in Democrats' attack quiver has been the tax returns issue. See how greedy and secretive Romney is? Even his own father released 12 years of returns! He's probably a tax cheat! That's all gone now, and the whiners look petty, small, and stupid. And Mitt Romney looks like the remarkably generous, law-abiding, productive member of society that he is. Bravo.
UPDATE - Cross off criticism number one from this list.
UPDATE II- The Romney camp sends out this statement from former IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg, who reviewed the Romneys' tax documents:
These returns reflect the complexity of our tax laws and the types of investment activity that I would anticipate for persons in their circumstances. There is no indication or suggestion of any tax-motivated or aggressive tax planning activities. In my judgment, they have fully satisfied their responsibilities as taxpayers. They have done so by relying on a highly reputable return preparer and other advisors, who have in turn relied primarily on information provided by third parties to them and to the IRS. The end result of that process has been returns that include a multitude of schedules, IRS forms and accompanying statements that provide appropriate transparency and the proper payment of taxes that Governor and Mrs. Romney owe under current law.
UPDATE III - Flashback video of the petty, clueless Senate Majority "Leader:"
He’s refused to release his tax returns, as we know. If a person coming before this body wanted to be a cabinet officer, he couldn’t be if he did the same refusal Mitt Romney does about tax returns. So the word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t.
Oops. Now what happens to all those Obama ads claiming that Romney "probably" pays a lower rate "than you"?
UPDATE IV - In addition to the tax information, the Romney campaign has also released medical information about both candidates, physicians' letters, and a whole heap of additional disclosures:
In addition to the complete 2010 and 2011 tax returns, Gov. Romney has released nine financial disclosures since 2002, which are posted on this site as well. There are 3 federal Public Financial Disclosures (from 2007, 2011, and 2012), and 6 Massachusetts Statements of Financial Interests (from 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007). The site also includes Congressman Paul Ryan’s financial information: tax returns from 2011 and 2010 for Paul and Janna Ryan, as well as 14 federal Public Financial Disclosures covering 1999-2012.
How about a look at the Fast & Furious documents (especially now that your AG has been "vindicated") and your academic records, Mr. President? Why so secretive?
UPDATE V - Romney's average effective tax rate over two decades is equivalent to what President Obama paid last year. I am beyond amused by Leftists who have dreamed up two more angry gripes: First, "This release is a distraction!" Yesterday, they were *demanding* this release. Second: "This notarized document from PricewaterhouseCoopers is a fake! They're lying! Show us the long form tax returns, or we won't believe it." Congrats, guys, you're the new birthers.
UPDATE VI - Reid's pitiful reaction is pretty much exactly what you might expect:
Reid on Romney deciding to release 2011 returns: "He's hiding something. He's hiding something! It is so evident he's hiding something!" — Anjeanette Damon (@AnjeanetteDamon) September 21, 2012
Thanks for the laugh, Senator. Enjoy life in the "reality based community," or whatever delusional world the Left has constructed for itself these days.
To read another article by Guy Benson, click here.
Posted by Brett at 4:22 PM