Skip to main content

On Monday, the Associated Press gave Mitt Romney great headline.  Summing up recent analyses comparing how President Obama and his challenger would fare under their own tax plans, the AP reported "Obama win could cost Romney $5M in personal taxes."  Rather than declaring "Romney would cut his own tax bill in half," the AP instead seemed to suggest Governor Romney and his ilk would be the target of punitive taxes in a second Obama term.  Even more glaring, Romney's plan to eliminate the estate tax was omitted altogether.  And with just that one change, President Romney's heirs could theoretically pocket an $80 million windfall from the United States Treasury, a revenue hole that would have to be filled by all other American taxpayers.

The AP's Connie Cass reviewed studies by the conservative Tax Foundation and the more liberal Citizens for Tax Justice.  She concluded:

Compared with what they owed in April, both men would be dinged in 2013 under Obama's proposal, along with other wealthy taxpayers. They could expect savings under Romney, depending on which tax breaks the former Massachusetts governor decides to oppose.

Among other changes to the tax code, President Obama wants to let the top tax rate for earners of $250,000 to return to its Clinton-era level of 39.6 percent and implement the Buffett Rule guaranteeing millionaires pay a minimum 30 percent effective tax rate.  (Obama would also end the "carried interest exemption" that allows Mitt Romney and other similar financiers to pay under 15 percent to Uncle Sam each year.)  In contrast, Romney would not only make the Bush tax cuts permanent, but deliver a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut.  Upper income taxpayers would not only see their rate slashed to 28 percent, but would benefit by the elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).  As Cass rightly points out, "To help offset the government's losses from lower rates, Romney says he would end some tax breaks. But he hasn't said which ones, so it's impossible to calculate the effect."

But the effect of Romney's tax plan on his and Barack Obama's personal tax payments is staggering and quite easy to see.   As CTJ revealed, Romney's total federal taxes owed to Uncle Sam (including Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes) would nose-dive by $2.8 million a year (or 49 percent).  For his part, former President Obama would save $67,000 (or 29 percent) under his successor.

But left unsaid in the CTJ analysis or other media coverage of it is that Mitt Romney's proposed tax cut windfall to his family would dwarf his own personal payday.

It's bad enough that the $250 million man Romney pays less than 15 percent of his income to Uncle Sam each year, a rate well below most middle class families. Worse still, the notorious "carried interest" exemption for private equity managers (like his son Tagg) Romney wants to preserve taxes him not at the ordinary income rate of 35 percent but at the capital gains rate now half of what it was only 15 years ago. (As it turns out, most of Mitt's millions each year come from his controversial former employer, Bain Capital.) On top of his Cayman Island investments and past Swiss bank accounts, Romney has created a $100 million trust fund for his sons - tax free. Thanks to some (apparently legal) chicanery on the part of his former employer, Mitt has also accumulated an IRA worth a reported $100 million. The Romney camp even complained about that, worrying that recent tax code changes had "created a tax problem" for the former Massachusetts governor and asking, "Who wants to have $100 million in an IRA?"

Mitt Romney answer to that is another question: who wants to pay the estate tax?  That tax is currently paid by less than a quarter of one percent of American estates each year. According to the Tax Policy Center, in 2009 fewer than 2,700 family farms and businesses owed the tax to Uncle Sam. But thanks to successful Republican brinksmanship, the December 2010 tax cut compromise lowered the rate from 45 percent to 35 percent while boosting the estate tax exemption to $10 million per couple. Now, Mitt Romney wants to make sure those 40 richest estates estimated to now pay the tax each year could keep billions of dollars away from the federal government.

And among those 40 estates would be his own. With President Romney zeroing out the estate tax, those 17 grandchildren would get a golden shower when their grandparents Mitt and Ann leave the scene. On paper, their payday courtesy of all other American taxpayers could reach $84,000,000 (35 percent of $240 million).

Those winnings would represent a pretty good return on investment for the former Bain Capital CEO.  Back in 2008, Romney spent $45 million of his own money in his first presidential bid, money he wrote off in hopes of securing the vice presidential slot on John McCain's Republican ticket.  As Mitt's son Matt explained at the time, the Five Brothers had no problem with their diminished inheritance:

"I don't ever expect to see any of that anyways. I don't think any of us kids are counting on that money. If my dad decides to use the money he's made, then we support him."
And why not?  If Mitt Romney becomes President of the United States, Matt and his four brothers will get that money - and more - back from Uncle Sam.

* Crossposted at Perrspectives *

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 10:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  It's called propaganda (11+ / 0-)

    They don't even try to pretend it is anything else anymore.

    Media benefits the 1%s who own them.  

    It is time to #Occupy Media.

    by lunachickie on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 05:25:36 PM PDT

  •  I am following you now, AA. (7+ / 0-)

    You are putting out excellent information. Thanks.

  •  Grover is going to call you a name for this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Link to another good tax article.

  •  Here We Go Again..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Complaining about mainstream media.

    First diary this week to do so? I dunno... but I do know it won't be the last.

    "Don't complain about the media, become the media!"
    Jello Biafra

    99% of you refuse to get this, so we'll continue to fail.

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 05:52:19 PM PDT

    •  DKos is alternative to mainstream media. (0+ / 0-)

      So how is it that all the fine diarists and commentors don't get becoming the media? Respectfully, I don't understand why you are saying that.

      24/7, it's all 'Great news for Romney!'

      by doinaheckuvanutjob on Mon Jun 04, 2012 at 07:00:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hellooooo? (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, dKos is alternative to mainstream media-- for a small group of politically active people-- people who for the most part support the democratic party/democratic candidates.

        Complaining about mainstream media doesn't change any of that, nor does it "sway" a significant number of people to be "on your side". it's redundant.

        "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

        by Superpole on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 06:19:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Any Pointers You Might Be Able to Offer... (4+ / 0-) to how to get out the message about the impact of Mitt Romney's proposal to end the estate tax would be greatly appreciated.  (Apparently, until I learn how to become the media, I will continue to fail.)

      Otherwise, your comment will be the first this week, though certainly not the last, to chide me for trying to offer up an analysis with the data to back it up :-)

      •  Is Your Goal (0+ / 0-)

        to "get the message out" to the small group of activists here at dKos? or to the masses outside of political Bloggo world?

        "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

        by Superpole on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 06:23:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We should start by conscripting a DKos star -- (0+ / 0-)

        someone like you, AA -- to ask other Kossacks with lots of Twitter followers to tweat this up. I think Meteor Blades has quite a few followers and could probably tell you who else does.

        If I had the power to draft you for this purpose, you'd be writing MB a kosmail right now.


        Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

        by RJDixon74135 on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 04:24:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This Really defines How Self-Serving a Romney
    Presidency would Be.

    Earning Money is One Thing.

    Giving Yourself Millions By rigging the Tax Laws in your
    Favor is Theft and Fraud.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 08:14:44 AM PDT

  •  some should ask Mitt (0+ / 0-)

    what he'll do with his windfall .... create jobs?  Or create another tax haven for the excess?

    "Mitt Romney has more positions than the Kama Sutra." -- me "Social justice is love, made public." -- Cornel West

    by billlaurelMD on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 03:03:43 PM PDT

  •  Romney's tax saving over past 10 years? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have to wonder how much the Romney family has saved in taxes over the past decade with the several the tax law cuts enacted?  If they have 20 million income a year and average just a 10% reduction in rate that would be roughly 20 million total.  If most of the income was carried interest that might alter the calculations.  It is difficult to figure since his returns are not available back to 2000 like Obama and Biden's.

  •  Fine Diary (0+ / 0-)

    Fine Diary, except that it’s STILL Loaded with Policy Wonk Language.

    But still, this is the clearest explanation of how our badly skewed tax polices favor the very wealthy I’ve seen in a long time…  Precisely because it uses the example of a single person and how that single person and his immediate family benefit from unwitting American tax payers taken to the cleaners for at least two decades.  

    Over the years no matter the current political landscape or current political campaign it has become all to clear to me that all Progressives, Liberals, Leftists and other political “tendencies” on the “Left” are in fact the “pointy headed intellectuals” right wing demagogues deride and make fun of outright, and counter at a more subliminal level with slick media campaigns implying all forms of liberalism and reform are elitist.

    One could easily see from my first two paragraphs above, that I too suffer from a kind of policy wonk language framework, as I can not think of any other way to put it.

    How someone like Limbaugh who gets paid about 38 million per year could convince working class white men and struggling small business folk he is looking out for their interest and get away with it, is the rabbit hole American politics fell into a long time ago.

    If the larger progressive movement is going to succeed the kind of messaging Avenging Angel does here must be echoed on an even broader scale; like finding the most insulting craven right wing tax evaders – one for each of the fifty states, who have been laughing all the way to the bank and using them as the literal examples of how the right wing elites distort reality and lie because they benefit at a personal level. That the right then relies on a softball media to never expose the utter deception they practice everyday is beside the point.

    It really does come down to taking off the gloves and hitting back ten times harder, not by wishing we had millions for media buys, but by keep hammering away by changing the memes of the American landscape at ground level in the streets.

    If OWS has meant anything it has in one short period of time changed the debate from “elitists liberals taxing Americans to death” to one where millions of us now know we are the true majority and are sick of lies from the Pentagon, lies from Wall Street and all manor of lies that support the very rich in their lavish lifestyles’…

    We all had better find a way to make it personal by exposing these people in real life using real names and dam the consequences, because it is obvious the right wingers in this country long ago abandoned any regard for consequences.

    Because in the end there are boat loads of people-very rich families and individuals who game this system to no end, and its long past due they be held responsible for the very policies they have wrought, because they know the stakes and truly fear the truth coming out.

    It is time to take off the gloves and play for keeps.

    Now if I could only figure out how to convey the idea to the thousands of younger OWS sisters and brothers that they has better figure out a way to reach a broader swath of working class,( the vanishing middle class), Americans to join them in the streets – safe from pepper spray and high bails because far too many of us, who would turn out, live on shoe string budgets… and have many responsibilities.

    HINT: OWS had better find a way to make a broad coalition with unions and the many other progressive groups they see tied to old fashion politics.

    So that next time OWS calls for a march or rally 20K or 40k turn out. There is a lot to be said about safety in numbers… they can not arrest 20 to 30 thousand at a time …. One need only look at recent events in Quebec to see why numbers means everything…

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site