It's no secret that Mitt Romney is a wealthy man, thanks to the unmitigated success he experienced running Bain Capital. When confronted with the accusations that Bain made money off gutting companies of employees, Romney acknowledges that tough decisions were made for the good of the companies Bain restructured. “Sometimes the medicine is a little bitter, but it is necessary to save the life of the patient.” But according to the Times, Dr. Romney is still receiving profits from those patients thanks to prescient retirement agreement, "bringing the Romney family millions of dollars in income each year."

Per the 1999 agreement, Romney receives a share of profits enjoyed by all of Bain's partners through 2009 on four global buyout funds as well as 18 other funds. Because the impact of some of the deals is still playing out, Romney continues to see profits of millions of dollars each year. An exact amount is unavailable because the candidate refuses to release his tax returns. But a partner and general counsel at a company that raises money for private equity firms like Bain, said that Romney's agreement "would probably be on the extravagant side."

Still, Bain never went public, which would have made Romney even more money, and though one former Bain partner characterized Romney's retirement plan as a "very sweet deal," they also noted "Mitt walked away with less than he could have if he did not take into account the adverse publicity and attention that a battle with former partners would have caused if he had negotiated and played hardball." Mitt always was a crowd-pleaser!

But if Romney didn't ask for a larger piece of the pie at the time, the company's growth has done it for him. In 1999, Bain managed $4 billion in assets. In 2005, it had grown to $21 billion, and currently, it holds around $66 billion. Out of Romney's estimated net worth of $190-$250 million, between $12.4 million and $60.9 million are Bain assets, according to a 2011 campaign disclosure. The total could be far more because of blind trusts and other assets held by Romney's wife.

Given that Romney now holds a commanding lead in the polls in New Hampshire, and Newt Gingrich's sudden implosion in Iowa and everywhere else, what may matter most about Romney's Bain income in a showdown with Obama is how it's taxed 15% instead of the usual 35%, because it is seen as "carried interest." A law professor notes that the carried interested exemption—or "carried," as it's called by the people lucky enough to benefit from it—is part of a set of options that are not available to the ordinary taxpayer. You continue to take your carried interest—a return on labor, not capital invested—and you’re paying 15 percent on it instead of high marginal income rates.”

Romney hasn't worked in the private sector for 13 years, so it's unclear when he has "labored" over these recent profits. But the former governor wants you to know that he's living paycheck to paycheck, just like us. A recent correction of last week's Times profile on the candidate's wealth yields this gem:

An article last Sunday about Mitt Romney’s wealth described incorrectly the horses Mr. Romney bought for his wife, Ann. They are warmblood horses, not thoroughbreds.

They're just lowly warmbloods! Maybe if Mrs. Romney was really good this year, she'll see some thoroughbreds under the tree.