Mitt Romney, Most Generous Candidate Ever?

I hope this comes up in tomorrow night’s debate. Barack Obama says that he is going to be more aggressive this time, while not coming across as a lunatic like Joe Biden. So what lies in that middle ground? Many observers think Obama will renew the attack on Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital and, closely allied to that, the assertion that Romney doesn’t pay enough in taxes.

Of course, Romney has paid many times more in federal and state taxes than Obama or almost anyone else, but somehow that elemental fact gets lost in the shuffle. Obama likely will sneer at Romney’s paying “only” 14% of his adjusted gross income last year. If that happens, and I suspect it may, Romney should be ready to respond with this:

[A] new analysis of the GOP candidate’s wealth shows that the millionaire was so generous that he kept just 42 percent of his income.

Obama’s team has mocked the 14.1 percent tax rate that Romney is in as shirking his responsibility. But Charlottesville, Va.-based Marotta Wealth Management, which pens a widely-followed research blog, found that when Romney’s tax burden and charitable gifts are included, he paid out 57.9 percent of his income. …

His basic math for Romney’s 2011 return: $18.6 million in income minus $10.8 million in taxes and charity results in a net of $7.8 million, 42.1 percent of gross. Ditto for 2010, said Marotta.

Liberal Democrats think that giving money to charity is a dodge that cheats the taxman out of his due, but no one else sees it that way. The Romneys give away, one way or another, 58% of their income. Can the Obamas say the same? Of course not. Can you? And how about the Bidens, who are notorious for keeping for themselves every possible penny? I doubt whether Romney will be aggressive enough to jam these numbers deeply down Obama’s throat, but he should.


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