Following the controversy surrounding Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s claim that 47 percent of Americans will vote for President Barack Obama because they’re dependent on government, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) on Tuesday released the following statement [emphasis added]:
“Rangel to Romney: Americans Pay Their Fair Share Of Taxes, Unlike You”
Nothing can be further from the truth than Gov. Romney’s ridiculous remarks that nearly half of American people do not pay federal income taxes, they pay other federal and state taxes. The 47 percent figure cited by the Republican presidential candidate covers only the federal income tax and ignores the fact that people may pay a higher percentage of their income on a wide variety of taxes.
Everyone pays taxes. Lower income persons pay state and local, property, excise and sales taxes. In fact, when all federal, state, and local taxes are taken into account, the bottom fifth of households pays about 16 percent of their incomes in taxes, on average. The second-poorest fifth pays about 21 percent. This is higher than what the Governor has paid in income taxes. He has absolutely no moral authority to accuse nearly half of the American people of being irresponsible and freeloaders.
Many of his millionaire and billionaire friends — approximately 55,000 — are paying lower taxes than millions of middle-class Americans. In fact, in 2009, 1,500 millionaires managed to pay no federal income taxes on their millions. Before he judges other people about paying federal income taxes, Gov. Romney should come clean about the tax returns he’s hiding from voters.
“Moral authority”? See, this statement is funny when you consider the fact that Rep. Rangel has been censured by Congress for a number of tax and ethics violations. In fact, he’s been in hot water for a lot of violations.
Let’s run through some of them, shall we?
Rep. Charlie Rangel amended his financial disclosure forms under pressure in 2009 to show “that he had omitted an array of assets, business transactions and sources of income. They include a Merrill Lynch Global account valued between $250,000 and $500,000; tens of thousands of dollars in municipal bonds; and $30,000 to $100,000 in rent from a multifamily brownstone building he owned on West 132nd Street.” That wasn’t all. “The latest filings come on top of an amendment to Mr. Rangel’s 2007 disclosure form reported this week showing that he had failed to list at least $500,000 in assets.” The new disclosures doubled Rangel’s net worth.
Rep. Charlie Rangel rented several apartments in Harlem at suspiciously below-market rates from a big campaign donor, combining several to create his home while using one of them as a campaign office. That was a violation of rent-control laws, which require rent-controlled apartments to be used as residences.
Rep. Charlie Rangel failed to report $75,000 in rental income or pay taxes on a Dominican villa he owned, causing the New York Times to call for him to step down from his Ways and Means Chairmanship.
Rangel is one of the most demonstrably corrupt manipulators of the tax code in Washington, and his longtime position as the guy who wrote tax code for the rest of us makes the corruption all the more despicable.
And there’s much, much more where that came from.
The point is this: if you want to lecture someone on not paying their “fair share,” it kinda’ helps if you don’t have a storied and illustrious past of possible criminal withholding.
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Front page photo source courtesy the AP.