How Romney is Underpaid at $57,000 per day

Photo AP.

The release of Gov. Mitt Romney's tax returns on Tuesday highlights the Presidential candidate's wealth and the low 14% tax rate that investors enjoy, far less than the 25-35% tax rate that the average American pays for wages.

Yes, Gov. Romney's annual earnings of about $20 million indicate that his dividends and interest received in one day are close to the average household annual income of about $57,000. This should surprise no one. Let's put some perspective on this, relative to individuals with his business expertise - by some accounts, he is underpaid.

Gov. Romney presents himself as a "regular guy" while at the same showing pride for his business acumen and success. This is in no way unusual for public figures with comparable annual income. So do television personalities such as Matt Lauer, at $17 million per year (some mornings, I can almost believe the "regular guy" image.)

Should the public be shocked that a successful business person earns the average annual salary in a day? In the private sector such as Bain Capitol, described in their website as an:

alternative asset management firms whose affiliates manage approximately $60 billion

....or, for that matter, a hedge fund firm such as Appaloosa Management that:

primarily invests in equities and debt of distressed companies, bonds, exchange warrants, options, futures, notes, and junk bonds. The firm also seeks to invest in companies in bankruptcy

-- It is not uncommon for their CEO to earn not $20 million per year, but well over $1 billion. In the case of Appaloosa Management, founder and President David Tepper recently earned $4 billion, or $16 million per day. That corresponds to earning the average American's annual income in not one day but in less than two minutes!

So is Gov. Romney undervalued? You decide.

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To the guillotine with them all!

By informania (not verified) on 26 Jan 2012 #permalink

If corporations are people can we pull a Bain? We get a loan, buy the undervalued asset using the loan, then liquidate it if it doesn't perform! Dance android dance?

(suggestion made in jest, I would never want to see Mitt dace, so I suppose other people wouldn't pay to see it either)

How long do you suppose it will be before Bain changes its name due to the press received during this election cycle? I'm guessing 3-5 months after the election.

By Robert S. (not verified) on 27 Jan 2012 #permalink

In my opinion, they're all OVERPAID. This very much goes to the heart of what is wrong with our country. The top tier has gotten totally bloated out of proportion to the bottom portion, and the entire middle is being squeezed out. And we let it happen! Ridiculous.

@BJD -- Not only did we let it happen, I see many people online (primarily, it must be said, those who self-identify as Republicans or libertarians and who spend a lot of time excoriating "libtards") cheering it on, even though they themselves are in lower income levels. These are people who have connected with the American success mythology to the degree that they draw no connection between where they are kept and where these CEOs are helping to keep them; rather, they see themselves as "I could be that someday." Policy is supported by gleeful self-delusion, that these are all "self-made men" and that anyone can climb the ladder of success and gain such fortune. In other words: no consideration for what is, but everything focused on the dream of what might be.

The mythology supports the system. The ugly reality of "if your family has the money, you go to the right schools, schmooze with the right people, and have no ethics whatsoever" isn't part of the awareness of the mythology. Thus, people become complicit in making disequities even when they're on the wrong side of it.

Personally, I think the overall "greed is good" message starting off in the '80s, along with a systematic devaluation of "community responsibility", has exacerbated this.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 29 Jan 2012 #permalink


I wrote a comment on either the 27th or 28th. I pointed out the double taxation of dividends, and argued that tax policy can only do so much to reduce inequality, especially not without affecting the overall economy in negative ways. I finished by noting that executive compensation probably has exceeded the worth of those individuals in comparison to the added value of people better at those jobs.

My comment was 'held for moderation' and never posted. I was not confrontational, rude, crude, or otherwise disrespectful in that reply. I certainly hope that you aren't censoring your own blog for opposing viewpoints. It is awfully hard to respect the opinion of someone that would do that.