Who Was The Richest President
January 28, 2012 by staff
Who Was The Richest President, John F. Kennedy was the scion of a business fortune. Billionaire Ross Perot’s success spurred his candidacy. Democrat John Kerry’s wife’s fortune dogged his.
Mitt Romney, the Republican former executive of buyout firm Bain Capital LLC, is among a line of well-heeled contenders for the White House, and the release of his tax return yesterday was part of an election-year ritual: a peek into their finances and the taxes that they pay. Romney made $21.6 million in 2010 — some $59,000 a day, weekends included, and paid $3 million in taxes, an effective rate of 13.9 percent.
His wealth and tax rate, less than half the top marginal rate on wage incomes, stand out against even his wealthy competitors, reflecting the fortune made in finance and the lower tax rate given to income from capital gains.
“He’s got an awful lot of money,” said Roberton Williams, ananlyst with the non-partisan Tax Policy Center in Washington. “It puts him not just in the top 1 percent, or the top tenth of one percent — he’s way, way up there.”
Republican rival Newt Gingrich, whose $3.14 million income included speaking fees, paid 32 percent of that in taxes. President Barack Obama, moonlighting as a best-selling author, paid 26 percent of his $1.7 million income as taxes in 2010.
“What’s clearly the case is people with a lot of investment income pay much less tax on that income than people who make that income from working,” Williams said. “That’s the way our system is set up.”
Romney’s wealth has figured prominently in a Republican presidential contest at a time when the U.S. economy is still struggling to replace the jobs that were lost in a recession that was fueled by Wall Street’s credit crisis.
Gingrich has questioned whether Romney’s fortune was made at the expense of workers at the companies he acquired, an issue raised by a film Gingrich supporters released before the South Carolina primary. In Congress, Romney’s returns reignited a debate on the tax treatment of so-called carried interest, which provides a relative handful of investment executives with preferential tax rates.
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