Opinion: President Obama and first lady paid $453,770 in 2010 federal taxes, donated 14% of income to charity


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As Tax Day reaches the 11th hour and some Americans wince at how much they will be forking over to the government, most won’t pay as much as the Obamas did. The President and the first lady released their joint tax returns Monday and showed that even though they earned about two-thirds less than they did in 2009 when the president’s book sales were skyrocketing, they still paid out close to a half million dollars in federal taxes.

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, earned about $1.73 million in 2010, their return stated. They also paid $52,000 in Illinois state taxes. The president receives a $400,000 salary, the majority of his income came from sales of the his books, ‘Dreams from My Father’ and ‘The Audacity of Hope.’


The couple donated $245,000 to 36 different charities last year, which totaled about 14% of their income. The entirety of the proceeds of his 2010 children’s book, ‘Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,’ was donated to a charity benefiting children of slain and disabled soldiers.

In 2009 the Obamas raked in $5.5 million, mostly due to the best-selling books which were at the peak of their popularity.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, earned $379,178 in 2010. They paid a total of $86,626 in federal taxes, $14,479 in Delaware state taxes, and $3,515 in Virginia income taxes.

Unlike the Obamas, the Bidens were not as financially generous with their charitable contributions, giving about 1.4% of their adjusted income to donations. But according to the veep’s press secretary, the Biden’s do-gooding didn’t begin and end with the wallet.

Elizabeth Alexander, Vice President Biden’s press secretary, issued a statement to CNN that emphasized that the Bidens also donate their time to charitable causes.

‘The charitable donations claimed by the Bidens on their tax returns are not the sum of their annual contributions to charity,’ Alexander told CNN in a statement. ‘They contribute to many causes with their time, as well as their checkbooks,’ she said.


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Note: Andrew Malcom is on vacation.

-- Tony Pierce