US Politics

Taxes: Mitt Romney and Me. Why Does the Job Creator Pay A Higher Tax Rate?

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Mitt Romney paid a 13.9% tax rate in 2010, on an income of $21.6 million dollars.

Mitt Romney - Cartoon

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney earned $21.6 million in 2010 and paid 13.9 percent of that amount in income taxes, using the preferential rate on investment income and charitable deductions to pay a smaller share of his earnings than top wage earners typically do.

I’m a public school teacher and small business owner. I paid 17.6% on an income just under 10% of the decimal point in Romney’s income. That’s what TurboTax tells me, anyway.

While Mr. Romney seems to believe that I am envious of his success, he’s wrong. I’m not envious; I’m angry. I’m angry that he has the gall to be proposing a tax cut that would decrease his burden when he’s already paying less than his fair share. I’m angry that he demonizes a government and regulations that have largely been built to benefit his kind of income at the expense of the rest of us.

As my friend Matt Singer said, I’m angry that “he won’t pick up his share for roads, schools, defense.”

Now, Mr. Romney’s supporters will say that he deserves those tax breaks because he is a “job creator.” How, precisely, living off the sweat and misery of others in “destructive capitalism” creates jobs remains a mystery to me, but Mr. Romney certainly isn’t creating any jobs now—other than for Republican operatives.

But I am a job creator. I create jobs every day. I help students realize their potential to reason, to write, and to achieve their ambitions. Every teacher in America is a job creator far more important than Mr. Romney.

But we’re not the only ones.

My union brothers and sisters who plow the roads so we can get to work are job creators and those men and women who build the roads, rails, and ships that carry American goods are job creators. The single parents who struggle give their kids opportunity working two jobs are job creators, as are the public servants who keep us safe and keep us informed.

Another famous Massachusetts politician once famously asked Americans “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country."

Isn’t it time for Mr. Romney to start asking—and starting doing—for the America he so loves?

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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