Mitt Romney’s tax return was finally released today as his campaign bowed to political pressure and released hundreds of pages of tax documents. What did we learn?
That he's really rich and pays a really low rate on capital gains.
Basically, while the Republican presidential candidate's tax returns offers glimpses into his sprawling investments, both in the U.S. and abroad, they don't tell voters much we didn't already know or assume was true about the former Bain Capital CEO.
Romney had an effective federal income tax rate in 2010 of 13.9 percent, paying about $3 million in taxes on an adjusted gross income of $21.6 million.
The vast majority came from stocks, mutual funds and other investments, typically taxed a rate of 15 percent - significantly lower than normal income.
Of course, this is the case because the money Romney invested was, theoretically, earned via his success and already taxed at higher rates once before.
Rather than making that defense, however, Romney has been evasive about his taxes for weeks, potentially reflected in Saturday's S.C. primary results.
Both rates are much lower than the rates paid by either President Obama or Newt Gingrich, Romney’s GOP rival who released his tax returns last week.
The President earned $1,728,096 in 2010 and paid $453,770 (26.3%) in taxes. Newt earned $3,142,066 that year and was taxed $994,708 (31.7%).
The figures certainly won't help Romney make the case that he understands and fights for the issues of ordinary Americans - not his strong suit as it is.
Nevertheless, he's better off being transparent going forward and trying to use his wealth as a positive, rather than a hindrance due to his own shiftiness.
That is, if he can answer anything without focus grouping it.