It’s official: The Romney campaign possesses a wicked sense of humor and an enviable degree of patience. After months of caterwauling, breathless innuendo and baseless slander, the Democrats and their media allies are being treated to a Friday feast of piping hot crow. The Romney campaign has released a detailed report of the the candidate’s 2011 tax returns, as well as an extensive summary of the Romneys’ taxes over the last two decades, prepared by analysts at PricewaterhouseCoopers. What do these documents contain? Brad Malt, the Romney family’s trustee, summarizes the 2011 data:
- In 2011, the Romneys paid $1,935,708 in taxes on $13,696,951 in mostly investment income.
- The Romneys’ effective tax rate for 2011 was 14.1%.
-The Romneys donated $4,020,772 to charity in 2011, amounting to nearly 30% of their income.
-The Romneys claimed a deduction for $2.25 million of those charitable contributions. The Romneys’ generous charitable donations in 2011 would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year. The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor’s statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.
In short, and as Kevin noted, Romney forked over nearly $2 million to Uncle Sam last year and donated more than $4 million to charity. He overpaid his taxes by limiting the charitable deductions he chose to claim, which could have driven his obligations to government even lower. Liberals are now actually complaining that Romney intentionally paid *too much* in taxes to boost his own effective rate, due to his prodigious philanthropic giving. This line of criticism is downright hilarious. It’s okay to point and laugh. And what about the last 20 years?
- In each year during the entire 20-year period, the Romneys owed both state and federal income taxes.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the average annual effective federal tax rate was 20.20%.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the lowest annual effective federal personal tax rate was 13.66%.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the Romneys gave to charity an average of 13.45% of their adjusted gross income.
-Over the entire 20-year period, the total federal and state taxes owed plus the total charitable donations deducted represented 38.49% of total AGI.
-During the 20-year period covered by the PWC letter, Gov. and Mrs. Romney paid 100 percent of the taxes that they owed.
Let’s unpack these numbers. The Romneys owed and paid state and federal income taxes every single year stretching back to at least 1990. Harry Reid’s imaginary friend is unavailable for comment. Their effective tax rate, on average, was over 20 pecent (nearly double the average effective rate in America, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation). Does this qualify as a “fair share”? In the last two decades, the Romney’s donated 13.45 percent of their adjusted gross income to charity. This totally dwarfs the long-term giving of the Obamas and the Bidens, in case anyone in the class warfare camp is keeping score. But remember, Mitt Romney is callously dismissive and uncaring toward poor people and the ’47 percent.’ Overall, the Romney family paid every cent they owed — and more — forking over nearly 40 percent of their income to either the government or charitable organizations, including their church. I’ve got to hand it to the Romney campaign: They played a long game here, and did so masterfully. One of the most obnoxious and relentless arrows in Democrats’ attack quiver has been the tax returns issue. See how greedy and secretive Romney is? Even his own father released 12 years of returns! He’s probably a tax cheat! That’s all gone now, and the whiners look petty, small, and stupid. And Mitt Romney looks like the remarkably generous, law-abiding, productive member of society that he is. Bravo.