Much has been made of Mitt Romney's tax returns, whether it is his lower-than-average 14 percent tax rate or the whopping $21.7 million in income he earned almost entirely through captial gains in 2010.
But tax policy conundrums aside, just how much money is $21.7 million? Here's a look at some of the things Romney could buy with just one year's worth of income.
|16 million Pounds of Surplus Chicken|
Last year when the cost of producing chickens was rising and the market value of their meat was falling, the Department of Agriculture stepped in to bail out floundering poultry farmers. The USDA spent $36 million buying up surplus chicken parts, which were then donated to food banks.
With the $21.7 million Romney made in 2010, he could have purchased about 16 million pounds of excess chicken leg quarters. That's enough to give four chicken legs to every Republican voter in Florida.
|477 Insurance Agents' Salaries|
With one year's worth of his income Romney could pay the salaries of 477 of the insurance agents he said earlier this month that he likes "being able to fire."
"I want individuals to have their own insurance," he said in a New Hampshire speech in early January. "That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means if you don't like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me."
The median annual salary of an insurance sales agent was $45,430 in May 2008, the most recent year data is available, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
|184 Shares of Berkshire Hathaway's stock|
Berkshire Hathaway, the company run by billionaire investor Warren Buffet, has one of the most expensive stock shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Its stock sold Tuesday for $117,875 per share.
Buffett has been the poster child for President Obama's plan to raise taxes on millionaires, such as Romney, and billionaires, such as Buffet. Buffet famously called for an overhaul of the tax code because he pays a lower rate than his secretary. Look for Obama's "Buffett Rule" to morph into the "Romney Rule" any minute now.
|6 Super Bowl Commercials|
With Super Bowl XLVI falling just two days before voters in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri take to the polls, Romney may want to plant one of his snazzy campaign ads during the halftime show. Even though ads are running about $3.5 million apiece this year, Romney could purchase six 30-second spots with just one year's salary
|1.4 Bank of America CEO Salaries|
Big bonuses for Wall Street bankers have been emblematic of the "1 percent" and a rallying point for Occupy Wall Street protesters. But even the Bank of America CEO did not make as much money as Romney last year.
In fact, with one year of his income, Romney could pay the Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan nearly one and a half times what his compensation package was in 2010, according to salary data compiled by the Wall Street Journal.
|423 Bachelor's Degrees|
Romney's $21.7 million income in 2010 could also pay for 423 students to earn a bachelors degree at a four-year public university or 168 students to earn a four-year degree at a private university.
The average cost of attending a public university for four years is $51,216 and $128,592 for a private four-year institution, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
|30,138 Visas for High-Skilled Workers|
While Romney is ardently opposed to illegal immigration, he often cites his support for making it easier for skilled workers to legally immigrate into America.
Using his 2010 income, Romney could pay the visa fees for 30,138 foreign professionals to immigrate into the United States. There is a $720 fee for an employment-based visa, which allows highly skilled people to immigrate into America to continue working in their field of expertise, according to the State Department.