Who Wants to Be a Billionaire?


ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings, and even the results of audits.

Taken together, it 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. ProPublica (Jesse Eisinger, Jeff Ernsthausen and Paul Kiel)

Analysis: ProPublica’s revelation report cast more clouds over some of the U.S. wealthy. We are all used to the financial class (caste) system – the haves and the have-nots. I suppose we should include another level in that stratum and call it the ‘in-betweeners.’ That’s the middle class. I’m middle class; I have just enough to keep me going from paycheck to paycheck, a vacation once in a while, a couple cars, and a house in a decent part of town. And I pay over 35 percent of my income to taxes of one kind or another.    

In the above quote from the ProPublica article, the emphasis should be put on “the wealthiest can – perfectly legally – pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction…” It appears the system is tilted in favor of the rich. There should be no gasps of surprise there. The system has always been tilted in favor of the rich. Perhaps you’ve heard this variation of the ‘Golden Rule, “He who has the most gold makes the rules.”

Many middle- and working-class Americans have suspicioned for years that they pay more in income taxes than many of the extremely wealthy in the country. That was confirmed when it was revealed just how much Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed billionaire, paid in Federal income taxes compared to those workers.

The point always comes down to fairness and the equity associated with everyone paying their share for the benefits received through taxation. Frankly, I get tired of being nickel and dimed to death on taxes, from income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and all the usage fees and dues, which are actually taxes. So, if I had the opportunity to take advantage of the tax-avoidance schemes (legal) that the rich use, I would likely do it without hesitation.

What I am in favor of is a tax system that does not benefit or favor any one class. How about a flat tax system? If you make this much money, you send the U.S. Government 5 percent – no loopholes, tricks, or surprises. That goes for all individuals and incorporeal entities.   

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