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Do David Simon and all the others reacting to Mitt Romney’s estimate of a floor of 13% on his effective tax rate over the past 10 years know the difference between an overall rate and a marginal rate?
Just wondering. I honestly don’t know. But Simon speaks as if he would expect Romney to pay 3x as much. Huh? 39%+? He must be thinking of the marginal rate, right?
Also is he forgetting about deductions? The marginal rate is not the net rate on taxable income, and taxable income is not income. Even someone with a simple tax return, the standard deduction, and a mortgage whose interest to deduct pays a net rate on a lower income, ergo pays a lower net rate than the ‘headline’ net rate.
Once again, we see the eternal truth that Mitt Romney, alone among Americans, is somehow morally required to pay more taxes than he actually owes. Simon for example boasts that he “pay[s] at the rate appropriate to my earnings”. But how did he figure out what rate that is? Deep introspection and soul-searching? Independent macroeconomic calculations? Nope. The government told him. In a fricking table. The government table said David Simon you must pay X% and X% is the ‘appropriate’ rate that he paid. David Simon wears this fact as a badge of honor. Oooh, good, great David Simon for being so generous as to pay the tax rate that would get him arrested if he didn’t.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s table said you must pay X% and, presumably, that’s what he paid, and yet it’s a scandal.
There is one other thing. Being angry that a guy “only paid X% because of all the deductions” is a little retarded. The deductions are there, in theory, to credit you for taking some action that – the government has decided in its infinite wisdom – is so Socially Beneficial in some way that it’s worth reducing your tax burden if you do it. (Otherwise, why have them?) So to complain about the resulting X% rate without also taking into account the Socially Beneficial action that got you there is missing one side of the equation.
To make up numbers, if my tax rate would be 30%, but I could lower it to 10% by giving 15% to some random charity, I should probably do that. But if you come along and gripe that my resulting tax rate was “only 10%” then you are WRONG. It was 10% PLUS the 15% I had to give to some charity, which I wouldn’t otherwise have paid out, to get there.
Now yes, OBVIOUSLY, not everything is like that example. Not everything that gives you, or Mitt Romney, a reduction in your tax burden really is Socially Beneficial. For example, I don’t think you should be able to deduct your mortgage interest! But that is not a complaint about you (i.e. you are not a criminal or immoral if you do deduct your mortgage interest), nor is it a complaint about Mitt Romney. It is a complaint about Congress, so take it up with them or shut up.
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