TAX RETURNS of America’s richest people have been leaked to the investigative website ProRepublica and prove that the mega wealthy have been paying little or no federal tax for years.
ProRepublica has seen the tax returns of the wealthiest people in the US going back over 15 years – including Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, Elon Musk who founded Tesla and the billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
According to ProRepublica, the richest 25 American paid just a small fraction in federal income taxes during this period while their wealth increased by $401 billion.
In 2007, Bezos, now the world’s richest man, didn’t pay a penny in federal income tax while in 2018 Musk, second richest person in the world, also managed this feat of paying nothing.
Buffet paid only 0.1% between 2014 and 2018.
George Soros, the billionaire investor and noted philanthropist, also managed to pay no federal income tax three years in row.
The same picture emerges on all of the tiny cohort of mega rich, including Rupert Murdoch, Mark Zuckerberg and all the other ‘titans’ of capitalism who, by perfectly legal means, avoid paying income tax.
The data, from the US Inland Revenue Service, leaked to ProRepublica, provides for the first time firm proof in the form of tax, investment and stock trades what workers have known for a long time – namely that the rich do not pay taxes only the ‘little people pay taxes’, as the billionaire property owner Leona Helmsley famously declared back in 1989 when up on charges of tax evasion.
Helmsley made the mistake of evading taxes, which is illegal, not the perfectly legal manoeuvres to avoid them as practiced by today’s multi-billionaires.
Federal income tax is only charged on earnings but the wealth of these individuals comes not from a simple yearly salary (which could be as low a $1 per annum) but as ProRepublica says: ‘Their wealth derives from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. These gains are not defined by US laws as taxable income until the billionaires sell.’
That doesn’t stop them raising billions in ‘loans’ against these assets which are also not taxable.
While workers are forced to take out loans simply to make ends meet and pay food and rent, these multi-billionaires use their tax-free loans to finance a lifestyle beyond the imagining of ordinary people.
ProRepublica said that this disclosure ‘demolishes the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most. The IRS records show that the wealthiest can – perfectly legally – pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.’
Not just in America but throughout the capitalist world it is the working and middle class that are paying through their taxes for health, education and all the other state spending.
The tax workers pay on their meagre earnings has been used to prop up the banks when they collapse and to keep industries and businesses from crashing during the pandemic while the mega-rich pay nothing, growing rich off the backs of the working class.
The old adage that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer has never been truer than today when capitalism is demanding that workers sacrifice their jobs and wages to keep this obscenely rich capitalist class in luxury.
These revelations have been met with fury by the US government which has ordered an FBI investigation into the leak.
It is not surprising that the capitalist class is so worried about its dirty tax secrets being exposed.
It will inflame an already revolutionary situation fast developing in the US, Britain and across the world, where workers are rising up against a system that works only for the tiny number of wealthy parasites while condemning millions to poverty and destitution.
These revelations will add fuel to the revolutionary surge as workers rapidly conclude that capitalism cannot be ‘made to work’ for them, as the reformist labour leaders claim, but must be overthrown by socialist revolution and this bankrupt capitalist system consigned to the dustbin of history.