Pundits Whistle at Obamas' Big $5.5M Year

The Bidens? Not so much.

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The White House has released President Obama's tax return, jointly filed with the first lady, and it is a doozy. The Obamas made $5.5 million dollars in the last year (mostly from Obama's best-selling books) and are paying $1.8 million in taxes. They also reported 329 thousand dollars in donations to 40 different charities. The Bidens, meanwhile, only reported 333 thousand dollars in joint income--ouch. So what does that all mean?

  • Book Sales, Ca-Ching!  The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman deduces, "The president’s returns show the power of 'Dreams From My Father' and 'The Audacity of Hope,' his two books. The Obamas reported $374,460 in wages, reflecting the president’s salary. But he showed $5,173,777 in business income"
  • Not To Mention Inheritance  The Business Insider notes, "Obama inherited several hundred thousand dollars from his grandmother... on which he paid around 33% in taxes."
  • Over-Sharing, But No Birth Certificate  Vanity Fair's Juli Weiner quips, "In a textbook example of Internet over-sharing, Barack and Michelle Obama and Joe and Jill Biden have posted their tax returns online." She adds, "However, nowhere in the 65-page tax return is Obama’s birth certificate. Definitely suspicious if not downright unconstitutional."
  • Who Did Their Taxes?  The Atlantic's Chris Good has the answer. "The Obamas had their taxes done by Wineberg, Solheim, Howell & Shain, a Chicago accounting firm.  Harvey Wineberg, the first of the principals in the firm's name, donated the maximum $4,300 (under Federal Election Commission contribution limits) to President Obama's '08 campaign. Michael Solheim donated $3,800."
  • 'Fancypants McMoney'  Wonkette's Jim Newell concludes, "Barack And Michelle Obama Are Rich As The Dickens." Calling Obama "Fancypants McMoney," Newell writes, "Barack and Michelle Obama have posted their 2009 tax return online, just to brag about how they live at “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” where they count their $5,505,409 in adjusted gross income all day long, cackling."
  • Not Included: Nobel Money  The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg adds, "Mr. Obama also won $1.4 million as the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, but he did not have to report it as income because he instructed the Nobel Committee to donate the money directly to charity, the White House said."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.