Our List, Cont.

T’is the Season

Eat the Rich (and eat their enablers). Our tax code is a eff’ing shame:

[Jeff Bezos’s] tax avoidance is even more striking if you examine 2006 to 2018, a period for which ProPublica has complete data. Bezos’ wealth increased by $127 billion, according to Forbes, but he reported a total of $6.5 billion in income. The $1.4 billion he paid in personal federal taxes is a massive number — yet it amounts to a 1.1% true tax rate on the rise in his fortune.

It’s a small taste. But how they avoid taxes becomes even more enraging; the section with snotty Carl Icahn made me scream at my laptop. It’s a rigged game, and the billionaires did the rigging.

(Hat tip: Scissorhead Beckymaynot)

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5 Responses to Our List, Cont.

  1. quakerinabasement says:

    I read this article, and I’m sorry to say it’s crap.

    The author conflates “income” with “increase in wealth.” Those two are very different, even if they sound similar. Income is money acquired that is immediately available to spend, save, or invest. The money one receives from operating or working for a business is income and it’s taxable.

    Increase in wealth (especially as described in this article) happens when you own an asset (stocks, real estate, precious metals, or even collectible comic books) and it becomes more valuable over time. While these things gain value, you can’t put that gain to use until you convert that asset into cash or some other asset. Consider a family home. Suppose it is purchased for $200,000, but after 15 years, it’s worth $500,000. The family is $300,000 “richer,” but they don’t have access to the additional wealth.

    Is the family paying a lower tax rate because the increase in the value of their home isn’t taxed? I say no.

    The writer of this article pretends otherwise.

    Liked by 2 people

    • tengrain says:

      Hey Quaker –

      The authors say all that in the article, too. But there’s much more in the article than income tax. The discussion of capitol gains taxes and how they leverage loans based upon their ever-increasing assets (and then deduct the interest!) is a twist I had not realized before. My Dad always said to never gamble with your own money, and that’s pretty much the short-hand of what they are doing. It’s a different set of rules for the connected people than for the rest of us.

      Rgds,

      TG

      Liked by 2 people

      • quakerinabasement says:

        Yeah, the article says all that–and promptly ignores it when they calculate their so-called “true tax” rate. If unrealized gains are taxed as “increased wealth” then are unrealized losses to be taken as deductions to income? It doesn’t seem right to only include gains in the tax calculation.

        If taxpayers are subject to taxes on changes in wealth and not just income, then you create a system in which governments are further starved of funds during recessions. If the market is down for the year and my wealth decreases, my net change of wealth is $0 and my tax is also $0.

        Now in saying all this, I think Sen.Warren was on target with her proposal for a wealth tax on people like Bezos, Gates, Buffett, and Musk. (Now THERE’S a law firm to steer away from!) Her proposal targets a slender segment of ultra-wealthy taxpayers who hold vast assets. Ordinary homeowners and retirement investors aren’t scratched.

        Still, if you redefine income to include changes in the value of assets, you’re opening the door to a different form of tax avoidance in slow economic times.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. beckymaenot says:

    I saw a tweet today says “I could afford to go to space too if I didn’t pay taxes”.

    Seriously- I get what basement quaker is saying- however- the fact is- the super rich do NOT pay taxes the way they should. They have spent decades stacking the deck in their favor and now they are collecting those rewards. They are getting richer while the rest of the people in this country have to struggle just to get affordable health care.

    And all of those super wealthy people are screaming at the top of their lungs about paying more taxes and about paying fair wages- while they put their money to work- not making this place better for all, but to keep their political power, which helps them keep all their money right where it is. They are paying for the GOP push to keep poor and minority Americans from voting- because when push comes to shove- the super rich all know what they are doing is not right and if allowed to vote, the majority is swinging towards making those rich folks pay.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. w3ski4me says:

    I am all for a return to Eisenhower taxation levels, no matter how uncomfortable that makes our rich folk.
    Tightening up deductions could produce a lot more income, but nothing like a good 90% wealth tax did.
    w3ski

    Liked by 1 person

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