How did Romney get between $21 million and $102 million in his IRA?

And why don’t we even know how much it is?

A reader writes:

Mitt Romney’s IRA has been estimated to be worth $21 million to $102 million.

At the annual contribution limit of $6000/year, and with no gains or losses to the value it would take

3,500 years to get to $21 million

and
16,666.67 years to get to $100 million.

I think we should run with these numbers. They demonstrate so clearly that Romney plays by a different set of rules than the rest of us. It isn’t envy of his wealth, but outrage at the difference in rules for him.

Even if you use the higher $30,000/year contribution limits referenced by some of the articles on this (some sort of special business IRA contribution limit)
it would still take 700 to 3,333 years of those contributions to get to $21-$100 million.

Romney’s defenders say that of course he should pay as little in taxes as he legally can, that he would be a fool not to take advantage of all the legal tax breaks. That’s why I think the IRA story is much more powerful. We all thought we knew the rules. We all struggle to fund ours, and I have been very discouraged at the loss in value of mine, or the low forward progress if they have gained in value.

I will leave it to a better mathematician than I am to figure out what kind of super-human rates of return he would have to have had on his investments to get to that amount.

And, his money is growing tax free in those IRAs, so it is costing us money.

Here’s the Bloomberg article on this topic.

I think this is huge. And I think it is very understandable to the American people. Numbers like $100 million are out of the range of my comprehension, but I sure can understand 16,666. And most middle class Americans are at least familiar with the general rules of IRAs and are familiar with their scant returns. This is the issue Harry Reid should focus on, even more than the tax returns.

What do you think?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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