Romney, in interview, says his tax rate is "fair"

WASHINGTON Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:31pm EDT

1 of 2. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Denver, Colorado September 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he thinks it is "fair" that he pays a lower tax rate on his investment income of $20 million last year than someone who made $50,000 annually.

"Yeah," Romney said in an interview aired on Sunday on the CBS television show "60 Minutes," when he was asked if he thought his relatively low rate was fair.

Democratic President Barack Obama and Romney were both interviewed on the program, in a preview of their upcoming debates ahead of the November 6 presidential election.

"I think it's the right way to encourage economic growth - to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work," the former Massachusetts governor said.

Democrats have been trying to make taxes paid by the former private equity executive a major issue in the campaign. They jumped on Romney's comment, immediately posting the video clip on the Internet and highlighting it to supporters.

Romney was asked about the 14 percent tax rate he paid on the $20 million he made on his investments in 2011. "It is a low rate," Romney said. "And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent."

Romney released his 2011 return on Friday, which showed he paid an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent. Romney pays a lower tax rate because his earnings come from investment income. Earnings from wages can be taxed at a rate of up to 35 percent.

Romney has steadfastly refused to release more than two years of his tax returns, breaking a longstanding presidential campaign tradition.

Democrats contend Romney is hiding something, arguing that the American people have the right to the information so they can make their own judgments about the finances of a potential future president.

Romney has said releasing the returns would just give his rivals' "hundreds of thousands of more pages to pick through, distort and lie about."

(Reporting By Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Eric Beech)

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Comments (42)
Munchma_Quchi wrote:
A CEO of a major corporation making $10 million is one thing but a guy making $20 million and doesn’t even have to get out of bed is another. In no way is that rate fair.

Sep 23, 2012 11:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
IamBAD1 wrote:
Of course Mitt thinks his tax rate is fair…..and if elected, it will be better–as in lower……

Sep 23, 2012 11:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SteveMD2 wrote:
Romney apparently hasnt read Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol – it was about the super-wealthy paying their employee(s) next to nothing while the business owner lived in a castle.

He could give a darn less about the poor, aged, and middle class in this nation. Same with his party

Maybe the repub party should change its name to Ebenezer Scrooge.

Sep 23, 2012 11:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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