mid-April, the White House announced that the President and Vice
President had officially released their 2012 tax returns. This
continues a tradition begun in the early 1970’s when US presidents
started releasing their tax returns for public scrutiny. After combing
through the Obama and Biden returns, Yahoo News wrote an
interesting piece highlighting five of the most interesting things found.

  1. 2012 was President Obama’s leanest year-to-date. Although
    an adjusted gross income of almost $609,000 isn’t anything to be
    ashamed of, it was the smallest amount of money he’s made since taking
    office four years ago. Book sales have been good as 40% of his total
    income came from the five books he’s published so far.

  2. The Bidens cleaned house. In
    2012, the Bidens donated exercise equipment, boots, furniture, bicycles
    and more to two charity organizations. Both Goodwill and the Ministry
    of Caring charities received a total of $2,000 of these in-kind

  3. Joe Biden is collecting Social Security benefits. The
    Bidens’ combined income was already close to $400,000 for 2012. But on
    top of that amount, Joe Biden collected an additional $30,000 in Social
    Security benefits. That’s a tidy sum nearly double the amount the
    average retiree receiving Social Security benefits collected last year.

  4. The Bidens are giving more. Up
    from 1.5% of total income in 2011, the Biden’s donated 1.87% of their
    income to charity in 2012. That’s a total of $7,900 in donations. This
    number includes the $2,000 in household items donated to the charities
    noted above.

  5. The president paid an income tax rate of 18.4%. For
    the total adjusted gross income of $609,000, the Obama’s effective tax
    rate came in at 18.4%. That meant the total tax bill for Barack and
    Michelle rang in at $112,214.

financial transparency of our leadership yields an interesting glimpse
into their lives. Tax returns give us a transcript of their earning,
giving, and donating patterns. Who knew that 2012 was the year the
Bidens got rid of their bikes or President Obama made nearly half his
income from book sales?