Saturday, September 22, 2012

Comment Elsewhere: Romney's Taxes

In a discussion of Mitt Romney's Friday Afternoon Tax Info Dump, I added:
The letter from PWC is a brilliant piece of work, designed to create headlines that lull low-information voters but not actually inform. I particularly like the part where the "effective federal personal income tax rate" and "effective state personal income tax rate" and "effective charitable contribution rates" don't add up: 20.20%, 8.36%, and 13.45% (3/4ths of which is, presumably, tithing), but the "Total" line is "38.49% of your adjusted gross income for the period."
As others point out, the fact that we're getting 20 year averages rather than year-by-year breakdowns, and that IRS rules about amending and correcting tax returns are so generous (which is, arguably, why Romney was willing to forgo some deductions in his most recently filed return: in a year or two, he can amend and reclaim the money), means that a lot of questions aren't answered. Did Romney pay taxes? Apparently. Did he pay a "fair share"? Not by a long shot. Investment losses are deductible, so investment gains should be taxed at least as much as other forms of income. And there's good economic analysis suggesting that higher capital gains taxes are very, very good for economic growth because they discourage short-term thinking and profit-taking, aka gambling.

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