Mitt Romney and Warren Buffet pay the same tax rates as Barack Obama and Joe the Plummer; 15% for long-term capital gains, and a range of rates for ordinary income from 0% to 35%. Everybody gets taxed at 15% for capital gains and a range of rates from 0% to 35% for ordinary income.
The apparent difference is that Romney and Buffet get more money from the more lightly-taxed capital gains than from the more heavily-taxed ordinary income. In either Romney’s or Joe the Plummer’s case, they are doing exactly what the tax code says they must do – they can’t do anything else, or they’ll go to jail.
And remember Congress wrote the tax code; it’s the body responsible for how things are taxed, not the taxpayer. So you can debate what the right tax policy should be, but first understand how it’s really done now, and who made it that way.
And realize that when politicians and the media want you to believe that the rich are somehow getting some sort of unfair tax break, they aren’t telling you the whole truth about it.