Barack Obama released his 2011 tax returns last week. The total due to the Obamas, according to the IRS, is $24,515. His effective tax rate is 20.5 percent. It is not unusual for many presidential tax returns often come with large tax refunds.

In all fairness, is this a lot of money for a refund to a president and have other presidents gotten refund in the past? I certainly find the refund to be huge, but that is only because I don't earn near the amount of money that Barack Obama does. But compared to the history of presidents, it's not that huge.

For instance, Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, received a refund of $61,451 in 2003. He only owed the IRS in his first and last year of office. In the first year (2001) he had to pay $4,030.

Let's compare that with Barack Obama. In the previous two years he has had refunds totaling a little over $20,000. However, in 2007 he really took a hit and owed the IRS $1,059,826. Apparently the sales of his book brought that about.

As for presidents prior to George W. Bush, they all developed similar patterns in their taxes during their terms in office.

Bill Clinton received refunds every year, except for the year of his election (1992) in which he owed $4,085.

George H. W. Bush received refunds every year, except the year after his election (1989) in which he owed $3,228.

Even Ronald Reagan only paid the IRS once during his presidency to the tune of $124,582 in 1982.

So what does this mean for an election year? Well Mitt Romney has released his estimated 2011 tax returns and he'll be receiving a refund of $207,818! Honestly, that is an amazing amount of money, but it is a very small percentage of what was actually made, which his Adjusted Gross Income was $20,901,075. In 2010 the story was very similar for Mr. Romney.

I am for any citizen using legal means to keep all the money they earn and apparently all the candidates on the GOP side along with Barack Obama have good tax advisors. This is one of the big issues of liberty. Keeping government's hands off as much of our money as possible should be the goal of every American citizen, but sadly, what America has come to is that many Americans and many politicians want to take money from some citizens and give it to others.

There is no doubt that the media will be all over Mitt Romney for the massive money that he has earned and the huge refund he is receiving. In the end both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are both making more than the average American and both are receiving back larger refunds than the average American. I for one don't want to see anyone, including those running for office, pay anymore to the IRS than they have to.

One thing that must remain front and center is the fact that America has been known as the land of opportunity. We cannot continue to allow those who do well and are successful to be ridiculed simply because they did so. We should encourage more of that.

With that said, should Mitt Romney receive the nomination and defeat Barack Obama in November, there is no doubt that he would be receiving the largest refund check ever of any president since presidents began releasing their personal tax information.

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