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Embarrassment of riches as Romney unveils tax returns
Republican Mitt Romney on Tuesday revealed he makes a staggering $20 million a year and pays a lower tax rate than most struggling Americans, in the latest twist in the roiling 2012 White House race.
The figures will likely shock a polarised American public fixated on themes of “class warfare” and the growing income disparity between rich and poor — which has led in recent months to the Occupy protests in US cities.
Under pressure the former Massachusetts governor, battling his main rival Newt Gingrich to be the Republican party’s nominee for the November elections, released his tax records online.
They showed the ultra-rich businessman reported income of $21.7 million in 2010 from investments and an estimated $20.9 million in 2011 — and paid in 2010 just over $3 million in taxes, a paltry rate of just 13.9%, much lower rate than most Americans.
Salaried workers in the United States can fork over as much as 35% of their earnings in federal taxes.
Romney finally agreed to disclose his income after Democratic critics and Republican opponents clamored for an accounting of the vast wealth he has accrued as a venture capitalist ahead of Florida’s key primary on January 31.
The on-again, off-again frontrunner in the Republican race to take on Democratic President Barack Obama in November is accused of pillaging companies and destroying jobs during his 15-year career at equity firm Bain Capital.
But Romney repeated late Monday in a Republican debate that he would “not apologise for being successful.”
Critics said Romney’s high income and relatively low tax payments also underscore the difficulty he appears to have relating to everyday working-class people, as he struggles to pin down the party’s nomination.
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