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Rick Santorum: An Ordinary Guy with Average, Uncontroversial Taxes

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Rick SantorumThroughout his senatorial career and presidential run, Rick Santorum has rarely shied away from controversy, but on Wednesday, he did one of the least controversial things he's done so far in his campaign: He released his taxes. While forensic accountants will undoubtedly continue scouring the records to find mistakes or questionable choices, Santorum appears not only to have been a conscientious taxpayer, but also what he has so often claimed to be -- a fairly normal guy.

Admittedly, politics is a rich man's game, which means that the standard of normalcy is somewhat skewed. Santorum's annual income over the last four years has ranged from $649,657 to $1.1 million -- sums that place him well within the 1%. But next to the $3,142,066 that Newt Gingrich made in 2010, Santorum's earnings of $923,411 make him look like a poor cousin. And compared to the $21.6 million that Mitt Romney brought home that year, Santorum's salary looks like a rounding error.

It's a wonderful lifeThen there's the way Santorum earned his money: Most of it came from consulting, public speaking engagements and his appearances as a conservative pundit. Admittedly, a bit came from his work on various corporate boards -- a fact that will likely deal a glancing blow to the outsider status that he so often claims. Then again, corporate collusion is also a relative term: Compared to Newt Gingrich's numerous board paychecks and Mitt Romney's $7.4 million in carried interest income, Santorum looks like George Bailey.

This leads, of course, to Santorum's tax rate. After Romney released his returns, he was hit by a wave of criticism for the 13.9% that he paid to the government in 2010 -- a strikingly low percentage that was largely the product of his 15% capital gains tax rate. By comparison, Santorum's rate ranged from 25% in 2007 to just over 28%. In fact, Santorum could almost be a poster child for tax reform: In 2010, he paid roughly 28.5% on an income of $923,000. The same year, Romney paid less than half that percentage on more than 23 times as much money.

Relative to his fellow one-percenters, Santorum is doing reasonably well, but not shockingly so: according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, people in the 1% pay, on average, about 29.5% of their income in taxes. Santorum's range of 25% to 28.5% is pretty close to average.

Rick Santorum

For that matter, Santorum's story is fairly average, too. His returns of the past four years point to a steadily growing income as he has become an ever-more-prominent pundit and public speaker. And, while his income took a bit of a dive in 2010, when his public speaking energies were directed toward his then-forthcoming presidential run, there is little question that Santorum Inc. is a growth industry. In fact, given his steady advancement, it almost seems like the only thing that could stem the growth of Santorum's business would be a successful campaign for the White House.

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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austinmavd

Are you serious? When did "consulting fees, speaking engagements, and acting as a Conservative pundit" become known as real jobs? And why is 15% tax on long-term gains a bad thing? It is money that has been invested in a potentially risky investment and held longer than one-year. If I go out and buy 100 shares of stock in a taxable account, I have already been taxed 28% or so by the IRS when I earned it. I could turn around and spend all of it and pay 8.25% in sales tax, put it in a money market fund and earn 0%, or I can invest in a long-term asset that carries risk and get taxed 15% on whatever appreciation is earned. Or I can lose money, sell it, and pay no taxes.

February 20 2012 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alpnair

Santorum is a chest thumping, Bible spouting anal nutbag.

February 20 2012 at 10:22 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
european44

This man is very gangerous for this country, his very personal beliefs that he wants to shove down the the american people is very scary.....

February 20 2012 at 9:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
gmydogbud

None of these guys are just like the ordinary guy. Neither Democrats or Republicans have a clue how the ordinary American Citizen has been forced to live by the decisions they have made. They have passed NAFTA and looked the other way while the American Workers Jobs went overseas. They live very well, take care of their friends, Big Business, Illegal Aliens, Lobbyists and Countries & People who want us DEAD to the tune of Hundreds of Billions, however when it comes to increases in Social Security , for two yours these guys said that the Cost Of Living Had Not Gone Up however at the same time, Congress themselves Cost of Living Increases! Wonder if any of them have been to the Super Market this year, as prices have gone through the roof. To put gas in the car is almost impossible! There are no jobs, and American Middle Class People are fast becoming poor and unable to care for their famlies. The American Middle Class needs a party to look out for them as neither the Democrat or Republican Parties does anything for them.


























they

February 20 2012 at 9:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
no one

was not surprise that middle east came to the end to understand that radicalism was and is the the most seperatory in the World for that ,people understood that is not America ,is no body against you ,but your government that push you all you life against the other faith and other country ,and you blindly follow the religion ,you must respect your religen the others would do the same ,the most important is respect for human being in the Earth,We very happy what happen around the World ,but big buy ,we have now that charlatan call santorum ,he has declare war to our people by using religion in first place ,instead he not talking for economy ,prosperity, culture ,and love between ,but he just talk things that make you crazy ,against ,each other ,that creature is really talking silly things ,,If you run to be in place for president ,you must respect any one ,any faith in World ,that makes you big man with big future so people can give you what you deserve ,santorum is preaching like priest ,that is danger for our country ,pople should think for the others as you do for you self ,santorum are doing what the radical country done before ,Do not talk about moral or immmoral ,because many would follow him santorum who he is ,just get to the point,God and Jesus has not gring any thing down from sky but let people be friend as time has come ,priech love ,santorum your tactics look very distotion distresfull and dizziness,people is more smart than you think you are

February 20 2012 at 9:29 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
no one

I was not surprise that middle east came to the end to understand that radicalism was and is the the most seperatory in the World for that ,people understood that is not America ,is no body against you ,but your government that push you all you life against the other faith and other country ,and you blindly follow the religion ,you must respect your religen the others would do the same ,the most important is respect for human being in the Earth,We very happy what happen around the World ,but big buy ,we have now that charlatan call santorum ,he has declare war to our people by using religion in first place ,instead he not talking for economy ,prosperity, culture ,and love between ,but he just talk things that make you crazy ,against ,each other ,that creature is really talking silly things ,,If you run to be in place for president ,you must respect any one ,any faith in World ,that makes you big man with big future so people can give you what you deserve ,santorum is preaching like priest ,that is danger for our country ,pople should think for the others as you do for you self ,santorum are doing what the radical country done before ,Do not talk about moral or immmoral ,because many would follow him santorum who he is ,just get to the point,God and Jesus has not gring any thing down from sky but let people be friend as time has come ,priech love ,santorum your tactics look very distotion distresfull and dizziness,people is more smart than you think you are

February 20 2012 at 9:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gershl00

Please - a normal guy!? There is nothing normal about this ideologue who, perhaps just accidentaly, became a millionairre shortly after leaving the US Senate. Keep in mind he couldn't win re-election in his home stat. So now he makes his home in Virginia. I gues Virginians are more enthralled with his strident anti-abortion, ant-birth control, and generally anti-independence for women views

February 20 2012 at 9:00 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gershl00's comment
Brandon

Be careful what you do in the name of independence. It could come back to bite you! Plus, he is closer to normal then the rest of them;however he is still a POLITICIAN and, I just have a difficult time trusting any of them!

February 20 2012 at 9:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
n1yearocrapleft

this stupid muslim clown drove america into economic disaster n he has the balls to blame the america people ( TEA PARTY )~~record foreclosures~~record job losses ~N 16.5 UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR THE LAST 3 1/2 YEARS N THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE THE BLAME~~what a farkin disgrace . !

February 20 2012 at 8:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gershl00

There is nothing normal about this ideologue who, perhaps just accidentaly, became a millionairre shortly after leaving the US Senate. Keep in mind he couldn't win re-election in his home stat. So now he makes his home in Virginia. I gues Virginians are more enthralled with his strident anti-abortion, ant-birth control, and generally anti-independence for women views

February 20 2012 at 8:57 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
gershl00

Please - a normal guy!? There is nothing normal about this ideologue who, perhaps just accidentaly, became a millionairre shortly after leaving the US Senate. Keep in mind he couldn't win re-election in his home stat. So now he makes his home in Virginia. I gues Virginians are more enthralled with his strident anti-abortion, ant-birth control, and generally anti-independence for women views

February 20 2012 at 8:56 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply