Under pressure, Mitt Romney released some of his tax information for 2010. Some of his remarks hit the right notes regarding the importance of economic liberty, but he missed an opportunity to make the case for property rights and lower taxes for all.
To castigate a man for not paying more taxes than the law requires him to pay is indecent. And to his credit, Romney told the Wall Street Journal: “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more.”
The Journal reports that Romney earned $21.7 million and paid $3 million in federal taxes. Further, notes the paper, much of Romney’s income came from investments, and given the “preferential rate for investment income” he paid “an effective rate of around 15%,” or “considerably less than the top rate of 35% levied on regular salary income.”
Unfortunately, Romney told the Journal, “I’m proud of the fact that I pay a lot of taxes.”
What he should say is this: “I’m proud of the fact that I earned significant wealth. The fact that some people pay an even higher percentage of their earnings to the federal government means that their right to dispose of their earnings as they see fit is violated that much more than mine. We should bring everyone’s effective tax rate down to a maximum of 15 percent and cut federal spending proportionately. That would be a good start.”
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Image: Gage Skidmore