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$374,000 Yearly Chump Change

By The Reverend Published: January 18, 2012

Following up on yesterday's seems that the GOP presidential candidate-to-be, Mitt Romney, has responded to calls to release his tax returns by stating yesterday that his income tax rate is...

"probably closer to 15 percent than anything."

Romney also told reporters that he....

....gets speaker fees "from time to time, but not very much."

Do you know how much is "not very much" in the eyes of Mitt Romney?


Mitt Romney made $374,000 in fees for speeches given from Feb. 2010 through Feb. 2011. Golf outing tip money perhaps. Limousine driver tip money, maybe. But "not very much" in the mind of Mitt Romney, ultra-wealthy candidate for the presidency. Mitt's estimated net worth is nigh on $270 million. Romney's deal upon leaving Bain Capital provided a lifetime yearly income in the millions, so that his nestegg of $250-270 million can be eventually handed down to those who have earned it through their hard work of being biologically connected to Mitt. And if Mitt has anything to say about it.....that future inheritance money that the Romney brood will share will not be taxed by the federal government upon transfer....eliminating the estate tax a top priority of all Republican candidates.

So what to make of this?

A person who receives $374,000 in income in 12 months is automatically in the top 1% of our country's income earners. Yet, Mitt Romney said that that was "not very much." See the problem?

From June 2007 to June of this year, they said, median annual household income declined by 7.8 percent for non-Hispanic whites, to $56,320, and by 6.8 percent for Hispanics, to $39,901. For blacks, household income declined 9.2 percent, to $31,784.

Not only that, but also this...

U.S. household income fell to its lowest level in more than a decade in 2010 and poverty rose to a 17-year high,....

Framed by that dismal looking backdrop....Mitt Romney told reporters that $374,000 a year was "not very much."

The leading contender for the GOP presidential candidacy stated publicly that $374,000....almost 7 times the average family's income during our jobless recovery dating back to the last Republican administration......didn't really amount to "very much."

That is not a symptom of tone deafness. That is a symptom from a man who is not self-aware. A self-aware leading candidate hoping to dethrone the Dark Knight would know better than to add the words "not very much" to a statement where $374,000 was the topic. But not Mitt Romney.

That comment will again reinforce existing doubts over whether Mitt Romney is out of touch with average Americans. Not one American outside of the top 1% would describe $374,000 as "not very much."

Couple the "not very much" Romney comment with the candidate's income tax platform of reducing income tax rates by one third on the top 1%, all during our worst jobless recovery in my lifetime, and my claim that the former governor lacks self-awareness seems reasonable. Who is Romney trying to reach with such comments?

Then we have the half-hearted admission by America's first Mormon candidate that he pays an income tax rate "closer to 15% than anything." Even though Romney doesn't work for Bain Capital any longer, and hasn't for quite awhile, his platinum parachute, studded with diamonds, from Bain continues to pay Romney millions each year. What's more, because the parachute was put together based on the egregiously low capital gains and dividend tax rates of the Bush administration.....Mitt's ongoing millions for doing absolutely nothing is only taxed at 15%. Middle class earners pay at an average of 20%.....for working.

As I said yesterday, I have no insight into how the Republican Party thinks Romney can reach average American voters. If anything, Romney is the very personification of what most Americans detest about the 1%. Detached, arrogant, out of touch, and not self aware.

In a very difficult economic period for most American families, a period marked by huge income disparities between the top 1% and the rest of us.....the Republicans will feature a candidate for the presidency who pays a lower income tax rate on his yearly millions than most of the public employees whom Tea-fueled GOP governors have been attacking as overpaid and coddled. In a very difficult economic period for most American families when their yearly incomes have actually declined by 2.3% over the last couple of years to an average of between $30,000 and $55,000....the Republicans will feature a candidate for the presidency who claims that $374,000 per year is "not very much."

Who would vote for such a person to be the nation's president and CIC?

Better yet.....why would anyone vote for such a person?



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