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JENKINS: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and the income tax nonsense

If President Obama were a doctor, and the economy were a patient that came in with a bad case of bronchitis, that patient would now be dying of Stage 4 lung cancer after Dr. O prescribed the wrong medications.

By any rational measure, Obama's policies have proven to be not just inept but downright dangerous. Witness the stubbornly dismal job numbers, the exponential growth of the deficit and the national debt, and the continuing reluctance of corporations to invest in America, choosing instead to sit on billions of dollars in capital.

Yet somehow, with the help of an always-willing media, Obama has been able to shift the focus from his disgraceful job performance to the idea that his opponent, Mitt Romney, has not paid his "fair share" of taxes. Let us examine, for a moment, that assertion.

In 2010 and 2011, Romney and his wife paid more than $6 million in income tax to the federal government. That's $6 million, or about three times more than you or I will probably earn in our lifetimes. Enough to sign a decent left-handed reliever or a backup center. Heck, Dr. Evil was willing to destroy the world for one-sixth as much.

The Romneys also, during that period, contributed more than $7 million to charity. For those of you who studied "new math" back in the 1980's, 7 is one more than 6.

The Obamas, by comparison, paid a little more than $600,000 in taxes those two years, while contributing $400,000 to charity.

Somebody please explain to me how a guy who paid one-tenth as much in federal income tax gets away with accusing his opponent of not paying enough. In any sane universe, that would be outrageous. Fortunately for Obama, this is America during an election year. Sanity is not an issue.

"Oh, but it's all about the tax rate," you say. "Romney only paid about 15 percent. Obama paid more than 20."

First of all, who cares? In the real world, as opposed to the one leftists inhabit, 6 million is still 10 times more than 600,000. I know I'd rather have $6 million than $600,000, but maybe that's only because I'm a greedy conservative.

Secondly -- and this is where Americans' general ignorance of all things economic really shines through -- Romney paid 15 percent because nearly all of his income came from investments. And by law, 15 percent is the correct tax rate on investment income.

To those who maintain that Romney didn't pay his "fair share," I would like to say: Please explain to me what's so fair about someone paying more taxes than he or she legally owes. Would you want to be forced to pay more taxes than you owe? Would you think that's fair?

And above all, why is it "greed" for Romney to want to keep more of the money he earned, and not "greed" when you want to do it?

Rob Jenkins is a local writer and the author of "Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility." Email Rob at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com, follow him on TwitterThe Book on Facebook.

Comments

notblind 1 year, 6 months ago

The Obama camp can't run on their record so attacks on meaningless issues are their only recourse. Vast numbers of people hate our last president but at least he had some personal dignity unlike the past few [D] presidents.

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Elbonian 1 year, 6 months ago

The main reason for our current economic mess is that over the past 50 years BOTH Republicans and Democrats have conspired to let corporations ship 20 million good-paying US jobs overseas to Japan, Korea, China, India, and other Asian nations. So, while I agree with your opening 2 paragraphs, voting for Romney (who has actively participated in the shipment of good-paying US jobs to Asia) would be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Romney has also lied about cutting spending down to 20% of GDP because he knows if he does that, 6.3 million more US workers will be unemployed and the US will head into a major depression. We need to focus on fixing our trade policies, but neither Romney nor Obama will promise to do that because they both depend on money from the 1% to get elected.

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