Ever wonder how much Jeb! Bush paid in taxes?
Then this might be the most glorious night of your life. Late this afternoon—and a few minutes ahead of schedule—Jeb Bush released a cache of tax returns, starting in 1981.
“One fun fact I learned in this process: I have paid a higher tax rate than the Clintons even though I earned less income,” he wrote.
A nifty graph asserts that his average tax rate over the three decades was 34 percent, compared to Clinton’s 30 percent tax rate in 2014.
For those keeping score, that’s 33 years versus one year.
But anyway, on to the transparency.
“Today, I’m releasing 33 years of tax returns—more than any presidential candidate in history,” he wrote, the text resting over a colorful graph comparing his disclosure to presidential candidates of the past.
In 1988, for instance, Michael Dukakis only released returns from five years. For shame.
Bush framed his tax-return-dumping as a gesture of openness and goodwill.
“You might remember a few months back, in the spirit of transparency, I posted 280,000 emails from my time as governor on JebEmails.com,” he wrote. “Some of them were funny, some serious, some a little embarrassing. But I put them all out because I wanted people to have a window into my leadership style and be able to see for themselves how I handled the issues facing our state.”
Nevermind that under Florida’s Sunshine Law those emails were already public record.
Anyway, Bush’s release of 1,150 pages of tax returns is explicitly designed to burnish his transparency credentials.
And it’s also given him a chance to ding the U.S. tax code.
“I just came back from Estonia where it takes residents less than five minutes to file their taxes,” he wrote. “The tax release process sure would’ve been a lot easier if we were following the Estonia model.”
Bush also used the moment to tout his business experience.
Another graph shows that his business grew from 3 to 250 employees, and depicts that change in a chart, in case you have trouble getting your mind around the difference between those two figures.
Bush gave a very cursory description of the work he did between his governorship gig and presidential bid.
He mentioned, for instance, that he worked as a senior adviser to Barclay’s, a multinational bank based in Britain. But he didn’t mention that before taking that gig, he became an adviser to Lehman Brothers, as Bloomberg noted last December.
Omitting Lehman’s from his e-resume makes sense, given its connection to the 2008 financial crisis.
A few hours after Bush’s tax returns come out, the State Department will release a trove of emails Clinton sent while serving as Secretary of State. All in all, an interesting day for transparency.