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Quiet down about Mitt Romney's tax rate

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leaves his headquarters in Boston, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

There's much being said and written about Mitt Romney's 13 percent tax rate.

Many are upset and outraged because they pay a higher rate than him, but there is a fundamental difference: Romney doesn't have a job.

His "income" is made off of investments, which are taxed as capital gains. The capital gains tax rate is 15 percent. In 2010, Mitt Romney paid $3 million of his "income" in taxes to the federal government. No matter what the percentage that is, it's enough.

Income taxes are different. They are withdrawn based on a graduated, progressive tax system with a top rate of 35 percent. The more you make, the higher percentage of your income you pay. Most workers pay income taxes. I do because I earn income from KTAR not from investments.

Are people mad at Romney because he didn't write a check to the Treasury? Here's a fact: no one pays more taxes than they have to. Not even President Barack Obama, whose effective tax rate in 2011 was 20.5 percent. His income was almost $790,000. With that amount of income, he should be paying the top tax rate of 35 percent. Why aren't the same people complaining about Romney's tax rate complaining about the president's?

It's because attacks on Romney's tax rates aren't really about taxes. They are about his wealth. He's said to be worth somewhere around $250 million. The attacks are about trying to make Romney appear out of touch with the middle class. No one is accusing Romney of doing anything wrong.

In fact, there's nothing illegal about Mitt Romney's 13 percent tax rate, nor is there anything illegal with Obama's 20.5 percent tax rate. Both rates are legal under America's tax code.

Back in 1913, when the income tax amendment was adopted, there were 400 pages of tax code. As of last year, there were 72,536 pages. Quick math says 72,136 pages have been added in 98 years.

This tax code is so large there is no one on the planet can fully understand and comprehend it. There are 1.2 million tax preparers in this country. There are only 765,000 police officers. This is what the entire debate should be centered on: how vast the tax code is.

If it were up to me, the tax code would fit on one page not 72,536. There would be one rate, with no deductions, that everyone would pay, or there would be a national sales tax and no income tax.

If I had my way, this debate about who pays a higher or lower percentage wouldn't matter and then maybe there could be a debate about something that actually does.

About the Author


Rob spent his formative years growing up in Massachusetts, but after graduating from Emerson College in Boston, he's had the privilege of living in Florida, New Orleans and New Mexico. Rob & his wife Amy have lived in Phoenix since 2006 when he joined KTAR. Rob is passionate about our freedom and rights -- something he learned to love while growing up in the Boston area.

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