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Based on his newly released 2011 tax return, Barack Obama might have even more ammo than before against Mitt Romney when it comes to comparative "everyman" cred. Or he just might have a few financial issues to worry about. While the Obamas still took in an obscene amount of money compared to the average American (not to mention compared to the average blogger) with an AGI of $789,674, those numbers actually represent a drop in income of about $1 million from 2010. They also paid an income tax rate of about twenty percent, parting with $162,074. 

Does this mean the first family is rapidly descending into the ninety-nine percent? Most likely not. What it really means is that the President should get back to writing books, given that his profits as an author tend to account for around half of his income. Meanwhile, Romney has yet to release his 2011 return, but is estimated to have raked in approximately $20.9 million in the past year, and is expected to pay a tax rate of around fifteen percent. 

Rather than being irked by his higher tax rate, Obama's camp released a statement saying that his family should be paying more, and encouraging a tax code that would require "the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share while protecting families making under $250,000." Is there anything quite as fraught and depressing as the collision of tax season with election season?

Image by Dave Herr.

Commentarium (12 Comments)

Apr 13 12 - 6:51pm

I paid a lower percentage than my secretary! You didn't think I was serious about that whole Buffett Rule thing, did you?

Apr 13 12 - 7:16pm

You're an idiot. I'm not a democrat, but the president has clearly said that he wants the tax code changed so that the wealthier citizens don't pay a lower tax rate % than citizens with much lower incomes. So yes, under the current tax code his % is lower than middle/lower class citizens -- which I think is making his point that changing the tax code with something like the "buffett rule" makes sense.

Apr 13 12 - 8:26pm

It takes only the most cursory analysis to reveal the stupidity of the "Buffet" rule.
The treatment of U.S. Government Bonds and Municipal Bonds, which are TAX FREE, will not be changed. Thus one could still pay less than 30 percent or whatever stupid threshold this idiot has proposed. So why hasn't O'dumma called for U.S. Government bonds to be subject to Federal Income taxes if the person is making more than $1million? Hmmm?

Apr 13 12 - 8:42pm

dawg, do u not understand tha diff between a bond and a private investment? bondz give da ¢hedda 2 da gov't. they also offer a set, low rate of return, homie. they not 'capital gains' in da romney sense.

Apr 13 12 - 9:32pm

Dividends AND Capital gains would be covered by the "Buffet" rule.
And bonds can generate capital gains.
So once again, how does the "Buffet" rule fix anything when a Billionare can stick his money into bonds and pay ZERO Federal Income tax while raking in Millions? Hmm?

Apr 15 12 - 10:13am

Bonds for capital gain? Could happen but not likely. In fact, with the upcoming bout of inflation (already started, didn't you know?), bonds will definitely not gain in capital value.

FYI - the president was free to write in an amount equal to whatever level he thought people in his tax bracket should pay. He didn't, thus, he's a hyporcrite.

Apr 13 12 - 9:35pm
Bill Thomas

He gave 22% of his income to charity and still payed 20% in taxes. Since he doesn't have any bills, he can afford to do that. He doesn't seem to be as leveraged as Romney in stocks, which have a 15% tax rate on profits if you hold them over a year. What is hard to understand about that? Also, Buffet is fighting over 2 billion in back taxes on his businesses. We wouldn't want that reported would we?

Apr 14 12 - 10:42am
2 vestth

As usual, Obama talk about a lot of things but actually does very little.

The Buffet Rule won't solve anything, as it only levies a higher tax rate on the income above the cutoff. In other words, if the cutoff is $1 million, the higher rate only kicks in on the income above $1 million; everything below that is taxed at the current lower rate.

Before we start adding more and more complexity to an already-absurd tax code, we need to simplify everything and get rid of all the loopholes and exemptions and deductions; we can't begin to start talking about who's paying their "fair share" (whatever that means, exactly) until we have a better idea of what everyone is actually supposed to be paying now.

Apr 15 12 - 11:12am

For a sitting president with a couple of best selling books, $789,000 is not "an obscene amount of money". Unless you compare his earnings with a jealous, underpaid Nerve blogger.

Apr 15 12 - 2:09pm

If you're going to take a jab at the writer, try to give it some merit. You wouldn't want to sound like a dumbass though I'm sure you're used to that.

Apr 16 12 - 1:57pm

The writer's bias is clear and in the open. My pointing that out didn't warrant your insult. But I'm sure you're used to hearing that.

Apr 16 12 - 6:09am

The Buffet Rule would still only raise $87 billion in 10 years. It's not enough up dramatically reduce our debt at all really.