John Ransom

The millionaire poster boy of the tax-the-rich crowd, who amazed everyone with the revelation that rich people don’t pay their fair share by his talking about his own example, has released his tax returns online with an accompanying asterisk because the truth is a lot less dramatic than his claims.

Turns out that Eric Schoenberg, chief cheerleader for United for a Fair Economy, only made about $37,000 after he paid his expenses, local taxes and accounted for charitable contributions.

He originally claimed he had income of over $200,000.  

After telling the AP that he only paid one percent in taxes in 2009 on over $200,000 in investment income as an illustration of how the rich use the system to avoid paying their share of taxes, Schoenberg was so inundated with calls asking how he paid such low rates that he decided to release his tax return.

United for a Fair Economy is a group of rich people who are demanding that the federal government raise taxes on them in the interest of “fairness.” Schoenberg and his friends think that the tax code at its center is a “moral” document rather than a method for paying for government services.

But far from being an exposé of how the rich get away with paying nothing, instead Schoenberg’s return illustrates how rich people who already pay a big share of taxes- the people Obama wants to tax some more- get hosed.

It also shows how badly the tax code needs to be simplified.

Line 38 on the return discloses that indeed Schoenberg, a business professor at Columbia Business School and an expert at taxation, had a top line investment income of $207,415.

He says that the income is made up qualified dividends; that is profits distributed from companies on which a corporate income tax has already been paid.

Schoenberg’s return also revealed that he had total itemized deductions of $155,466.

John Ransom

John Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation. He lives in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom.

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