Moral Low Ground


At 20.5%, Obamas’ Tax Rate Lower than President’s Secretary

April 15, 2012 by Brett Wilkins in Rich & Poor, White House with 0 Comments

The White House has disclosed that Barack and Michelle Obama pay a lower federal income tax rate than the President’s secretary.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the President and his wife, who filed jointly, reported a gross adjusted income of $789,674 in 2011. They paid $162,074 in federal taxes, or 20.5%. That puts the Obamas in the top 1% of all US taxpayers, but Anita Decker, the President’s secretary, paid a slightly lower rate on the $95,000 she earned last year.

White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage says this “is exactly why we need to reform our tax code and ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share.”

Part of the reason the Obamas paid such a low tax rate is that they donated a whopping 22% of their gross adjusted income to charities, including $117,130 to the Fisher House Foundation, which builds houses in which families of wounded veterans can stay while their loved ones are receiving medical treatment at military medical centers. The President donated proceeds from his children’s book, “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,” to the charity.

The Obamas’ tax rate is notably higher than that of presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who paid 14% of the nearly $22 million he earned in 2010 in federal income tax. Romney has not yet released his 2011 tax return; according to NBC News, he has filed for an extension.

President Obama’s campaign team has pressured Romney to disclose more of his financial records.

“Gov. Romney has yet to provide tax returns from the period in which he made hundreds of millions as a corporate buyout specialist, or as governor of Massachusetts, the experience he says qualifies him to be president,” campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement. “Mitt Romney’s defiance of decades of precedent set by presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle, including his own father, begs the question — what does he have to hide?”

The President has been an outspoken supporter of the so-called “Buffet Rule,” named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has repeatedly asserted that the rich should be taxed more. Buffett has bemoaned the fact that he also pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.

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