Call it the Romney Rule: Mitt Says He Pays “Close” To 15 Percent In Taxes

<a target="_blank" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wacphiladelphia/4559118112/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Flickr/Gage Skidmore</a>

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Does Mitt Romney pay less of his income in taxes than you do?

Bloomberg’s Julie Davis tweeted that Romney told reporters while campaigning in South Carolina Tuesday that his “effective tax rate is probably close to 15 percent” because “most of his income is from investments.”

That means Romney—estimated to be worth between 190 million to 250 million dollars according to the New York Times—pays a lower effective tax rate than millions of Americans who aren’t close to being millionaires. Last year, President Barack Obama proposed a change to the American tax code called the “Buffett Rule,” named after wealthy investor Warren Buffet, who claimed that because capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than income, many of his employees paid more of their income in taxes than he did. 

How much Romney pays in taxes has long been the subject of speculation—he said that he “might” release his tax returns in April—but as Michael Scherer reported in October, the Democrats had long sought to use the Obama’s “Buffett Rule” proposal to frame Romney as the candidate of the wealthy. Romney has responded by accusing Obama of being “a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy.” Presumably, anyone who points out that Romney’s tax plan calls for keeping his own taxes low while cutting spending on programs for the less wealthy is also just jealous. 

Romney recently said talk of inequality should be confined to “quiet rooms,” but Democrats will most likely hammer the GOP front-runner for his low tax rate now that he’s outed himself as the exact kind of millionaire who would be impacted by the “Buffett Rule.” I wouldn’t be surprised if they started calling it the “Romney Rule.”

UPDATE: Greg Sargent points out that “Romney Rule” has been floating around for a while now, though until today his tax rate was still a matter of informed speculation. 

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate