Mr. Romney said last week that his effective tax rate was “about 15 percent,” a figure lower than that of many affluent Americans. But his returns suggested that he paid an effective tax rate of nearly 14 percent.That's a heavy-handed "but." 14 is "about 15."
“I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more,” Mr. Romney said during Monday night’s debate. “I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”Exactly! The question isn't what he paid — unless he cheated — but what his tax policy for the country would be. Still, he really needs to be able to explain cogently and persuasively why capital gains are taxed the way they are. And he really needs to be able to convey why we should want a man who mostly worked in private finance to help us out with our finances.
Mr. Romney, a Mormon, has long said that he had promised to give 10 percent of his income to his church. His tax return shows that over two years he and his wife, Ann, gave $7 million in charitable contributions, including $4.1 million to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.So he gave more money to his church than to the federal government. Is "gave" the right verb for both of those payments? Perhaps it's not the right verb for either. Tithing is compulsory in the church, is it not? In both cases, he's relinquishing what is due under a requirement.
CORRECTION: Romney gave more money to charity than to the federal government. The amount given to his church was $4.1 million, which is less than the $6.2 million given to the federal government. He gave $7 million total to charity.
Remember when Joe Biden released his tax returns in 2008 and we saw that he gave about 0.15% to charity? That same year, we saw the Obamas had given 5.8% - 6.1% of their income to charity. McCain was way up in the 27.3% - 28.6% range. To be fair, Democrats' idea of government is more of a replacement for charity. Let everyone hand over the appropriate amount and government will rationally/politically determine how to deal with all the needs. If you think that's a good idea — isn't it, in the abstract? — then you probably lean Democratic. I do think it's a good idea — in the abstract — but I lean back to the center when I think about concrete reality, and I don't trust the government to determine the needs and dispense the money properly. I also don't trust people to choose charities well. (They'll give for the cure of diseases that attack sympathetic people and shell out big time for dogs and cats.) And I don't trust charities to handle vast pools of money properly. Unlike many conservatives, I don't care about the warm feelings of self-love that flood the brains of charitable givers. I care about competently dealing with real needs and avoiding waste and corruption.