Reading between the lines of Obama’s tax return


For a Marxist-Leninist socialist, Barack Obama is doing OK.

The president released his 2011 tax returns Friday. All in all, it was a pretty good year:

“The president and first lady reported a joint adjusted gross income of $789,674 last year and paid $162,074 in total federal taxes, or about 20.5%.”

Go ahead and read the full story if you want. It talks about Obama’s push for the “Buffett rule,” which would raise taxes on the rich -- including him.

It also has the obligatory call on Mitt Romney to release his returns.

And the obligatory response from the Romney camp that this is all a “sideshow.”

Really? You think?

As in Romney saying Obama has spent too much time at Harvard? This being the Romney who has not one but two degrees from Harvard?

Or as in Hilary Rosen saying Ann Romney shouldn’t be advising her husband on women’s issues because she’d never worked? As if raising kids and running a household and campaigning with your husband isn’t work?

Of course it’s a sideshow. Practically everything that’s been said lately has been a sideshow.

Should we care that Obama’s a rich guy who perhaps paid somewhat more in taxes than Romney? Will any voters really make up their minds on such a narrow point?

Not likely.

But the underlying theme does matter.

Remember the flap over Joe the Plumber, and Obama saying we should spread the wealth around?

Can you imagine Mitt Romney ever saying anything like that?

Of course not.

Call it class warfare if you want, but the president we have and the man who wants to be president -- both rich, Harvard-educated men -- have fundamentally different views of the obligations of wealth.

Romney, as do most Republicans, believes -- to paraphrase Gordon Gekko -- “Rich is good.”

I’m sure Obama is happy to be rich too, but he believes that with that wealth comes a duty to take care of the less fortunate.

It’s why he pushed for healthcare reform. It’s why he wants the Buffett rule.

Romney and Republicans may not say it explicitly, but they still embrace the trickle-down theory of economics.

Obama doesn’t.

And in the end, after all the sideshows, the election may turn on which vision of wealth Americans prefer.


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