This weekend saw ads from the Obama campaign attacking Mitt Romney for paying only 14% in taxes. However, the most comprehensive study of White House spending, The $1.4 Billion Man: Costs of the Obama White House, completed after 3 years of meticulous research, shows that the Obamas pay less than 1% in taxes when their income is calculated to include what would be taxable benefits for other citizens. One of the most important things to note about the $1.4 billion figure is that it specifically does NOT include the cost of running the White House’s policy operations – the $1.4 billion is directly related to the lifestyle of the president and his family.
President Obama has been a vocal critic of corporations and rich individuals who don’t pay their fair share of taxes, and the methods they use to escape taxation. However, no one in the world leads as expensive a lifestyle as the president, and he pays relatively very little income tax. He paid $162,074 in income taxes in 2011. However, while fringe benefits are generally taxable for everyone else, the president’s benefits, which cost hundreds of millions a year, are tax free. So he doesn’t pay taxes on his limo, the costs of his helicopter and plane travel for vacations, his use of the White House as his residence, his staff of nannies, valets, dog walkers, bodyguards, or chefs, his use of Camp David, his $7 million a year health insurance program, or any of the sundry other benefits he receives, although in many cases the use of these items has nothing to do with official presidential business. For instance, Date Night in 2009 involved 3 Lear jets, 2 C-17 Cargo planes, 5 helicopters, and a motorcade, had absolutely nothing to do with presidential business, costs taxpayers over $1 million, and yet incurred no tax cost to the president.
On the other hand, a corporate CEO is taxed on benefits like private jets and limousines to the extent that such use is not directly related to business purposes, and there are strict rules governing what is deductible and what is not. In fact, many private individuals have been prosecuted by the IRS for not reporting personal use of company assets as income. If one were to take into account the value of his fringe benefits, Obama pays a remarkably low marginal tax rate – much less than 1%. He is the living embodiment of how to live like a king and yet pay a very common amount of income tax. His lifestyle is far, far more expensive than that of any corporate CEO, yet he pays far less in federal income tax than most CEOs.
About $1.4 Billion Man eBook
The $1.4 Billion Man eBook has been featured on Fox TV and in numerous national radio interviews. Click here to get a simple summary of the $1.4 Billion calculations, reader comments, and much more. The book is available for sale for $2.99 at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
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Tripp Whetsell for Attitude Media