How the Other Half Banks

Mitt Romney released his tax returns today, revealing that he made a combined $42.6 million in 2010 and 2011, mostly through capital gains. Because the bulk of his wealth was made through investment, Romney only paid $6.2 million in taxes, which translates into a 13.9 percent tax rate in 2010 and an estimated 15.4 percent rate in 2011. Those rates place him in the same tax bracket as a couple making $70,000 a year. Romney's taxed income was mostly held in a blind trust, with an undisclosed amount held in the Grand Caymans and other overseas financial institutions (including a Swiss bank account that was closed in 2010 after an investment advisor said it could become politically embarrassing).

Comparatively, President Barack Obama paid a 25 percent tax rate, and Newt Gingrich paid 31 percent on his income.  None of Romney's earnings—$21.7 million in 2010 and $20.9 million last year—came from wages, which is the primary source of income for most people in the U.S. "I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more. I don't think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes," Romney said when challenged on his tax returns by moderator Brian Williams during last night's debate.

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If the past precedent of the Chinese zodiac is to be believed, 2012 will be a good year for the markets. Between 1900 and 2011, the Dow Jones Industrial Average price index rose by an average of 7.7 percent in real terms during the last nine dragon years—the second-best historical record of the 12 animals in the zodiac zoo.

Reason to Get Out of Bed in the Morning

Washington appears likely to become the seventh state to allow same-sex marriage after one state senator announced her support, giving the current bill enough votes for passage in both houses of the legislature.

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