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Friday, July 13, 2012

Lindgren: Over 30% of President Obama’s 2009-11 Income Came From Foreign Sources

The Volokh Conspiracy:  Over 30% of President Obama’s 2009-2011 Gross Income Came From Foreign Sources, by James Lindgren (Northwestern):

I find it strange that the Obama campaign would be making so much of Romney’s income from foreign sources when Obama’s foreign source income appears to be a much bigger percentage of his income over the last few years. Of course, one can’t tell for sure because Mitt Romney has not released his 2009 tax return.

Yet in the three tax years in which Barack Obama has been President (2009, 2010, and 2011), fully 30.1% of the Obamas’ gross income has come from foreign sources: ($2,711,340 out of a 3-year total gross income of $8,993,449).  In 2009, 26.5% of the Obamas’ gross income came from foreign sources. In 2010 it was a whopping 41.4%, and in 2010 it was 30.2%.

The salary that we taxpayers pay him as President (just under $1.2 million over the 3 years) accounted for less than 13% of the Obamas’ income, a share dwarfed by their 30% from foreign sources over the same period.

From 2009 through 2011, the Obamas paid $87,429 in foreign taxes, which they applied toward a credit to reduce their U.S. tax bill.  The amounts I examined are reported on Form 1116, of which there are two filed along with their 1040 when they had both general and passive foreign income.

Their returns do not disclose which foreign countries are responsible for paying the Obamas the $2.7 million in foreign source income, but the overwhelming bulk of it must come from payments resulting directly or indirectly from book sales.

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I don't recall anyone criticizing Romney, or anyone else for that matter, for having foreign-sourced income. The criticism arises from his outsourcing US manufacturing jobs to foreign countries when he owned Bain. Of course there is also the issue of his off-shore investment accounts in tax-haven countries. I can't see how your research is helping move any discussion forward.

Posted by: Jerry Murphy | Jul 14, 2012 10:02:01 AM

This is a silly point by Jim Lindgren. Obama most likely derived most of the foreign income from his book and Nobel prize. By giving the prize to several charities, he escaped tax on it as generous Nobel Laureates have done in the past. And, who begrudges a person who earns money abroad from paying tax on it in the foreign country and claiming a tax credit? I have done that on occasion as many other readers of this blog have likely done. Perhaps Jim shows us the danger of wandering too far afield. I wonder what has caused him to do so.

Posted by: Bill | Jul 14, 2012 3:52:45 PM

Sure. Earning almost $3 million by selling a book you wrote about growing up in America to people who live in other countries is JUST like hiding your money in the Cayman Islands, outsourcing and offshoring U.S. jobs, selling fetuses as medical waste while claiming to be pro-life, and living on the interest earned on interest earned on interest of the billions you made from these activities.

These two things are exactly the same and only a pro-Obama koolaid drinker could object to the comparison.

Posted by: Liz | Jul 14, 2012 8:57:18 PM

Book sales, naughty man. Next, he'll be buying companies with massive loans, and paying back the loans with the company's profits while paying him and his buddies gargantuan salaries (oops, they're not salaries, or otherwise they would have to pay proper tax).
But wait till Fox picks this up, Mr. Lindgren won't recognize his own report.

Posted by: john q public | Jul 16, 2012 4:13:27 AM