By JOSH MARSHALL - TPM
Added: Sat, 28 Jan 2012 15:48:32 UTC
Does he really think voters are this stupid? . . . Oh, yeah, I forgot his audience. /Mike
I’m pretty surprised that Mitt Romney’s team let their guy go down this path. Or maybe it’s just him. Stung by the 13.9% tax rate story and goaded on by some conservative columnists, Mitt Romney is now saying that his actual tax rate is “really closer to 45 or 50 percent.”
Romney’s claims come pretty much right at the beginning of this interview below but he’s said it twice today. It’s gotten pretty little press even though these were public interviews; and kudos to Huffpo’s Jon Ward for putting together the story.
Romney’s argument is that even though he pays only 13.9%, he’s really paying something like 45% to 50% because the investment income he lives on comes from corporations. And those corporates also pay taxes. The nominal corporate tax rate is 35%, though of course many pay much lower. But if you add Romney’s rate together with this completely unrelated corporate tax he doesn’t pay, you get 50%, which Romney is now saying is real tax rate. In other words, he’s claiming he pays both taxes.
This is a preposterous explanation on so many levels. TPM’s employees pay tax. Are they also paying the tax TPM Media LLC pays? Or another example. Like everyone else I pay various taxes on my personal income. Then I go over to the store and buy my son a toy and I’m taxed on the same income AGAIN. This is silly. Investment income is taxed at 15%. End of story. This has long been a hobbyhorse for conservatives who do not believe there should be any tax on investment income at all. But it’s really just game playing.