Romney paid 13.9% tax on 42.5 million dollars. Are you OK with that? US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he expects to pay about $6.2m (£4m) in taxes on income of $42.5m in...

Romney paid 13.9% tax on 42.5 million dollars. Are you OK with that?

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he expects to pay about $6.2m (£4m) in taxes on income of $42.5m in the last two years.
That makes for a tax rate of 13.9% in 2010 and an expected rate of 15.4% in 2011, his campaign said. - BBC News Online.

So, there we go... If you earn 42.5 million dollars, you only need to pay 13.9% tax. I am disgusted at these figures. They are apalling. Did you know that the top 400 people in America have the same amount of wealth as the lower 50% (that's 156,000,000 people) These statistics are more appropriate for a third-world banana republic, not the most advanced country in the history.

I am simply lost for words. What do you think?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Am I OK with that?  Yes and no.

Romney made a huge chunk of his money through capital gains and other investment income.  I accept the conservatives' argument that that kind of investment income is taxed twice and so I don't think it's a travesty that his rate is so low.  If the system were 100% skewed in favor of the rich, Gingrich wouldn't have been paying as high a rate as he did.

However, our whole attitude towards taxes and spending is screwed up.  We want the government programs and yet we won't pay the taxes.  Something has to give.  So in that sense, I'm not OK with this.  In our current context where we spend as much as we do, we need to have higher taxes and that would go for Romney as well as anyone else.  If we're not willing to have them, we need to spend less.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What he did was legal, so I have no issue with Romney, per se, but I have a huge issue with a government and policy that enriches the already megarich at the same time as it cuts spending and borrow money.  Our infrastructure, our system and our massive economic strength allowed people like Romney to make this money (after all, it's capital gains, not like they were mining coal for minimum wage or inventing something new and valuable).  They should chip in.  In fact, if they were to pay marginally higher taxes, our economy would be even healthier, offering them more stock and business opportunities.

I also disagree wholeheartedly with the idea that tax cuts for the rich create jobs.  I cite the last ten years of tax cuts--and the ensuing recession-- as my evidence.

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I completely agree. And with corporations now being "citizens" who can throw as much money at they want at the political process, the distribution of wealth is going to become even more skewed.  Sadly, I no longer believe we are the most advanced country in the world. What made us thus was investment in education, respect for science (see global warming lately), an attempt to provide for the least among us, and adherence to the principles of the Constitution.  We have replaced a social contract that made us great with Darwinian capitalism, which is wonderfully ironic, given how many people cannot wrap their minds around the clearly established process of evolution.  Is it possible we are devolving?

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to say I agree with pohnpei. I fall between the "yes" and the "no." While I have always been blown away by the amount of taxes the rich have paid, I agree that the money for the programs the government "offers" must come from somewhere. The way I look at it, he paid WAY more than I made. If the government can get that kind of money, so be it. I simply think that the money is sometimes put in the wrong places.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, I'm not.  He should have paid no tax.   No one should be forced to pay income tax; forcible compliance is akin to theft.  The United States had no such policy until 1913.  Removing the income tax for everyone would decrease the size of government and stimulate the economy.  Having the government swoop in and take people's hard-earned money without their consent is simply theft.

boblawrence eNotes educator| Certified Educator

His low tax rate is typical of multimillionaires.  In fact, the very rich, such as Forbes, Gates, Bloomberg, Eisner, etc. pay a much LOWER percentage than Romney.  The very rich strongly object to even paying 10% tax...whereas I, an upper middle classs earner, pay about 37%!  How can that be fair??

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I wish I was as rich as Romney.  I do not think it's fair that tax evasions are only possible for the rich.  As a teacher who does not own a house, I can't deduct the thousands of dollars I spend on my job.  Guys like this can deduct everything.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree. It makes we wonder what can be done about it though when such laws are set up that privilege the rich. Can any change be enacted, and if so, how? What would you do to start the process of change?