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AFL-CIO Now

Mitt Romney Pays a Lower Total Tax Rate Than the Average American

What's Mitt's Secret? Photo courtesy of United Steelworkers.

Damon Silvers is the policy director and special counsel of the AFL-CIO. 

Mitt Romney’s 2011 tax return is an education in injustice, just like his 2010 return was.  The peculiar letter he released from his tax accountant Pricewaterhouse Coopers concerning his taxes before 2010, simply adds to the mystery—why won’t he follow his father’s and President Obama’s example and release ten years of tax returns?

Romney’s 2011 returns are an education in injustice. They show a man who made more than $13 million dollars—almost all of which appeared in his bank account without him doing a day’s work—and yet paid a 15% tax rate while middle class America—people who make less than 1% of what he makes—pay higher tax rates on money they earn from working

And if that’s not enough, consider Social Security. The typical low-wage worker—the member of the 47% that Mitt Romney says “lacks personal responsibility”— pays 7.5% of her income in Social Security and Medicare taxes.  Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan say we can’t afford Social Security and Medicare, that we need to take away health care and cut the incomes of senior citizens—but Mitt Romney pays out of his $13,696,951 in total income only 0.16%—a bit more than one one thousandth—to Social Security and Medicare. Workers who make less than $110,000 pay the Social Security FICA tax on 100% of their income. 

And then finally, we have this letter from Price Waterhouse Coopers that tells us all kinds of carefully constructed numbers about Mitt Romney’s other hidden tax returns.  It tells us he paid taxes every year.  But it doesn't let us look for ourselves at these other returns.  What are they hiding?  What did Mitt do on his taxes that is worse than what you and I can imagine he did?

How does your tax rate compare to Romney's? Check out this chart from Talking Points Memo. 

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