Saturday, August 11, 2012
Under Paul Ryan’s Plan, Mitt Romney Would Pay Virtually No Taxes
Democrats have speculated that Mitt Romney might have paid little to no taxes in the years covered in his unreleased tax returns. If Paul Ryan had his way, they’d be right.
Romney’s new running mate proposed eliminating the capital gains tax in his 2010 “Roadmap for America’s Future.” Since Romney, like many ultra-wealthy Americans, derives virtually all of his income from investments, he would pay virtually no taxes at all under such a plan.
The Atlantic crunched the numbers on Romney’s 2010 tax returns, the only one he’s made public, and found that Romney’s tax rate that year would be just 0.82 percent under Ryan’s proposal.
Romney went out of his way during the campaign to avoid proposing any capital gains tax cuts that would benefit him personally, keenly aware that his investment fortune made him an easy target for Democrats. He did propose tax cuts on investment income, but said they would be restricted only to middle-class savings, leaving his own vast holdings unaffected.
The capital gains issue came up during the primaries when Romney attacked Newt Gingrich’s tax plan by noting it would reduce his own tax burden to 0 percent:
“Under that plan, I’d have paid no taxes in the last two years,” Romney said in a January debate, referring to its elimination of taxes on investment.
Ryan also may have recognized the political difficulties behind his idea. While his 2010 proposal put him on the political map, he chose not to zero out capital gains in his House budget.
Given Democratic enthusiasm for Romney’s personal finances and President Obama’s focus on tax fairness, Ryan’s earlier capital gains pitch is likely to rear its head on the trail.