Mitt Romney’s tax flings indicate that he earned $21.6 million in 2010, nearly all of it from stocks, mutual funds and other investments, including profits and investment income from Bain Capital.

Romney and his wife paid about $3 million in taxes, which translated to an effective tax rate of 14 percent. They also gave about $3 million to charity.

For 2011, Romney estimates he earned about $21 million, which will subject him to 15.4 percent tax rate.

Fairly impressive – but if Romney were an athlete, he would be somewhere in the middle of the pack.

According to a Forbes magazine report from last year, the world’s 50 highest-paid athletes earned a combined $1.4 billion for the 12 months ended May 2011, for an average of about $28 million apiece, a figure significantly higher than what Romney earns in a year.

At the top of that list was scandal-plagued golfer Tiger Woods, who raked in $75 million. Woods was followed by another scandalous athlete, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, who took in $53 million, including a $24.8 million salary from his ball club. LeBron James came in third at $48 million, followed close by tennis star Roger Federer at $47 million.

Indeed, were Romney on this list, he’d finish in 35th place, between New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana ($21.5 million) and washed-up NBA player Vince Carter ($21.8 million).

Moreover, compared with entertainers, Romney might be considered middle-class or worse.

According to Forbes, the highest paid male entertainer for the 12-month period ending in May 2011 was actor-director-producer Tyler Perry, who amassed $130 million, more than six times what Romney earned.

I can kind of understand the resentment of much of the public against Romney’s wealth … but why is there so much less anger against the obscene amounts of money handed out to people who are engaged in such trivial affairs as sports and entertainment?

At least Romney has led what appears to be a sober, responsible life in business and politics. Then again, he can't dunk a basketball nor make a hole in one either.