So Mitt Romney is releasing his 2011 tax returns. The top line is that the Romneys’ effective tax rate last year was 14.1 percent.
The Romney campaign also released new info on how much he paid from the years 1990-2009, claiming: “Over the entire 20-year period, the average annual effective federal tax rate was 20.20%.”
That 20 percent figure sounds a lot better than 13 or 14 percent, right? Well, here’s the problem: It all turns on how that 20 percent figure was calculated…
The Romney campaign confirmed to me just now that the 20 percent figure was calculated [by averaging the rates against each other — treating the rates themselves as a collection of individual numbers — to calculate the overall average rate].
[Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center] tells me that this is a far less meaningful way to calculate the overall rate…
“You can be a person like Romney and have a highly fluctuating income year to year,” Williams said. “Some years Romney’s income could be much lower than in other years. When you average just the rates, you can distort the rate you’ve paid relative to your income over the whole period.”
Williams concluded: “The only way we can know for sure what rate he actually paid is to see what his tax payment and his income was for each of the 20 years.”
So just to recap: The method the Romney campaign used to calculate his twenty-year average annual effective federal tax rate to get the 20.20% figure is basically bogus. But let’s not forget: Even 20.20% is obscence given that Romney is worth a quarter of a billion dollars and America’s top tax rate is 35%.
In Omaha for a closed to the press fundraiser for her husband Friday, Mrs. Romney was supposed to give interviews to several reporters but canceled due to the controversy over her blow up at Republicans on a radio interview, in which she ordered Mitt’s Republican critics to “stop it.”
A debate is percolating over whether the Mitt Romney campaign has tried to stoke racial resentments, primarily through television ads attacking the Obama administration over welfare policy. Republican leaders deny it. President Obama and his aides have been largely silent on the issue.
“The long-moribund housing market has bustled to life, with prices and new-home construction rising in recent weeks. Hiring, so weak earlier this year, picked up last month. And on Thursday, the government reported an acceleration of a downward trend in the number of people…
Always vote for the Supreme Court you wish to see.