When ProPublica released a report on the raw tax data it obtained for the 25 richest Americans, its analysis of the never-before-seen data confirmed what many people had already inferred: Rich people’s tax burden isn’t nearly what low- and middle-income people’s tax burden is.
Elon Musk didn’t even pay income tax in 2018. Mike Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, the Waltons, Carl Icahn, and Warren Buffett all tossed the government a few bucks, but didn’t pay nearly what middle-income Americans paid. Meanwhile, as multibillionaires’ businesses were bailed out and propped up by the government and their own personal wealth grew, ordinary Americans paid about as much in annual taxes as they experienced in wealth appreciation, a pattern that kept them financially treading water, at best.
All this would be shocking if it wasn’t so predictable: If America were a group dinner, the mega rich would order several of the most expensive items on the menu and then skip out without paying the tab.
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