Charlie Rangel, Legendary Tax Cheat, Lectures Mitt Romney On Paying Taxes
Say what you will about Mitt Romney's dopey comments that 47-percent of Americans are basically free-loading schlubs, but the last person -- literally, the absolute last person -- who should ever chime in on the issue is legendary tax cheat/New York Congressman Charlie Rangel.
But guess who chimed in on Romney's comments -- legendary tax cheat/New York Congressman Charlie Rangel.
Under the headline "Rangel to Romney: Americans Pay Their Fair Share Of Taxes, Unlike You," Rangel -- again, a Congressionally censured tax cheat -- says the following:
"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."
This, of course, is the same Charlie Rangel who failed to report $75,000 in income he'd received from a three-bedroom, three-bathroom rental property he owns in the Dominican Republic. At the time, Rangel owed back taxes on the property for at least three years.
This is also the same Charlie Rangel who took a "homestead" tax break on the home he owns in Washington D.C. for several years. Problem is, Rangel simultaneously occupied multiple rent-controlled apartments in New York City.
And lest we forget the time he (ahem) forgot to include the sale of a D.C. home on his annual financial reports; the "discrepancies" in the reported value of a home he owned in Florida (anywhere between $50,000 to $500,000, depending on who you ask); or the inconsistencies in his reporting of his investment funds.
Then, of course, there's the Congressional parking space that Rangel used to store his Mercedes Benz (for free) for years. Fairly small potatoes when you look at the other ways Rangel's avoided paying taxes over the years, but under IRS rules, Congressional parking spaces are considered imputed income, and therefore can be taxed. Rangel, however, never paid a dime.
Rangel's creative tax filings have earned him repeated (dis)honors as one of the most corrupt lawmakers in Washington, which is no easy feat -- being one of the biggest liars in Washington is roughly as competitive as being the biggest drug addict at a Phish concert.
Perhaps a better headline for Rangel's scolding of Romney would have been "Rangel to Romney: Hello, Pot -- Meet Kettle."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.