Romney Overpays Taxes in Effort to “Fit In”

After complaining endlessly about high federal income taxes, Romney pays half a million dollars more than he needs to. Why?

On Friday, the Romney machine released his 2011 tax returns and “summary” of taxes from 1990 to 2009. In 2011, Romney made approximately $13.7 million, donated just over $4 million and paid about $1.9 million in taxes for an effective tax rate of 14.1%. Nothing surprising here considering what he paid in 2010.

The most interesting takeaway is the political accounting tricks being used for dealing with charitable contributions. Even though he was entitled to claim the full $4 million as a tax deduction, Romney only claimed $2.25 million. Why would Romney not claim the full amount and voluntarily pay more taxes? This is, after all, the man who stated earlier that:

“I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. Continue reading “Romney Overpays Taxes in Effort to “Fit In””

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About the 47%

Mitt Romney’s recent remarks, secretly recorded and obtained by Mother Jones, in which he refers to 47% of the American population as self-victimizing moochers, has led to a chorus of criticism for his ineptitude as a campaigner. But what about his perception of reality? Is it true that 47% of Americans pay no federal taxes? Is it true that these non-contributing victims form the base of President Obama’s support? The following chart from the Tax Policy Center helps answer these questions.

While it’s true that almost half of Americans technically pay no federal income tax, more than 28% pay federal payroll taxes, which are basically federal income taxes that are collected separately for social security and medicare. It should be noted that payroll taxes are highly regressive and are almost always ignored in the national conversation about tax burdens. So suddenly the 47% shrinks to 18% who don’t pay taxes.

The next biggest group in the 47% are retirees who have exemptions because of their fixed (and often low) incomes. It should be noted that retirement income is still taxable – the 10.3% who pay no taxes represent the poorest of our elderly – hardly a demographic to target for being lazy moochers. Excluding the payroll tax payers and the elderly poor, the 47% collapses to 8%. Continue reading “About the 47%”

Romney Has Foot in Mouth Disease

The campaign took a decidedly bizarre turn earlier this week when one of the candidates actually spoke candidly about his Presidential ambitions. It goes without saying that this moment of honesty came at a closed door meeting among wealthy donors and that the candidate did not realize he was being recorded while denigrating nearly half of the American population.

Here’s the money shot put out by Mother Jones.

Did you catch that? Continue reading “Romney Has Foot in Mouth Disease”

NYC Bans Large Soft Drinks (kind of)

NYC takes one step closer to becoming a nanny state – can fat people learn to drink from two hands?

It’s finally happened. I thought it was just political posturing on the part of Mayor Mike Bloomberg in some strange effort to appear health conscious to the general public and provide fodder for Jon Stewart. The ban, which is scheduled to come into effect in six months, was approved, by an 8-1 margin by the City’s Board of Health, an appointed body within the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (no clue what mental hygiene is).

The new law would prohibit the sale of soft drinks exceeding 16 oz. (473 ml) in fast food restaurants, amusement parks, sports venues and movie theaters. Bust rest assured, the ban would not affect 7-11 (which is technically a supermarket), which sells what is perhaps the most famous oversized beverage in the world – the Big Gulp. Not only will the regular Big Gulp Slurpee (32 oz/946 ml) continue to be legal, but so will the Super Big Gulp (44 oz/1,301 ml),  Xtreme Gulp (52 oz/1,538 ml) and the Double Big Gulp (64 oz/1,893 ml). Continue reading “NYC Bans Large Soft Drinks (kind of)”

Searching for Sugar Man

For every genius we have, imagine how many countless others have slipped through the cracks and gone unnoticed. By accident and political circumstance, one such artist was given a second life half way around the world.

Imagine for a moment that you are an American folk singer in the early 1970s. You put out two albums that, according to your producers, will make you bigger than Bob Dylan. Everyone in the industry thinks you’e a genius. And then nobody buys your records. The public ignores you. The music labels are dumbfounded but have no choice to drop you and move on.

At the same time, your first album, Cold Fact, somehow makes it to South Africa. Unbeknownst to you or anyone in the music industry, your songs explode in popularity and provide the anti-establishment anthems for an entire generation. In South Africa, you are bigger than Elvis and the Rolling Stones, and nobody outside of South Africa knows this, including you.

How is this possible? Continue reading “Searching for Sugar Man”