September 22, 2012

MEGAN MCARDLE LOOKS AT ROMNEY’S TAX RETURNS: “The result is surprisingly unsurprising. . . . Romney still has a low effective tax rate, because he has a lot of capital income, and donates a lot of money to charity. You can argue over whether we should tax capital gains more highly (I favor eliminating the corporate income tax and then taxing capital income at ordinary income tax rates, but Matt Yglesias makes the ‘No’ case here). You can rail at the existence of charitable deductions, a question on which I can see both sides. But this is the source of his low income tax rate. There’s no ultra-sophisticated nefarious scheme, or at least, not one that’s readily visible on his tax returns. Early in his life, Romney deferred a lot of consumption by saving, in part undoubtedly because his large income made doing so rather painless. Fair or not, that’s tax advantaged behavior in every modern economy that I’m aware of.”

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