Late Night: Jon Stewart thinks Mitt Romney should pay more taxes

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On Tuesday, in an attempt to silence a growing chorus of critics, Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax return and an estimate of taxes to be paid for 2011. The paperwork revealed that Romney had made $43 million over the past two years, while paying out over $6 million in taxes.

That might sound like a lot, but as Jon Stewart pointed out on ‘The Daily Show,’ it amounts to an effective tax rate of less than 14%. ‘The most amazing part,’ according to Stewart, is that Romney makes nearly $57,000 a day without, technically speaking, actually having a job.

‘How in the world, Mitt Romney, do you justify making more in one day than the median American family makes in a year, while paying an effective tax rate of the guy who has to scan your shoes at the airport?’ Stewart wondered.

He played a clip from a recent Republican debate, in which Romney curtly explained that ‘I pay all the taxes that are legally required, and not a dollar more.’


The answer wasn’t quite good enough for Stewart, who suggested that Romney isn’t merely abiding by the country’s tax laws -- he’s also helped make them. Stewart pointed to a bipartisan bill, proposed in Congress in 2007, that would have raised the tax rate for private-equity investors like Romney to 35%. Stewart argued that, despite support from some Republicans, the bill was killed by a lobbying group comprised of the nation’s largest private-equity firms ‘including -- surprise, surprise -- Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital.’

Romney himself spoke out against the proposed increase. ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea to raise taxes,’ he told CNBC’s Lawrence Kudlow in 2007.

‘Yeah, ‘cause they’re your taxes,’ Stewart said.

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— Meredith Blake