A Minor Message About Millionaires
I answered a reader recently with an explanation about my stand against billionaires; the key trigger was the recent flood of praise for Elon Musk.
I stand firm in condemnation of an economic system that is so warped it allows a lucky few to exist in a comparatively tax-free environment.
You hate socialism? If you’re making (say) $50,000 a year, then $36 of your taxes goes to support food stamps, and $4,000 goes to corporate subsidies.Which group is the socialist group? Which is really living on “economic rent”?
Each year, Americans spend $153-BILLION just to subsidize the underpaid workers of TWO companies: McDonald’s and Walmart.
Taxing the rich equitably — the way it was under Eisenhower, before Reagan — would raise $6-trillion over the next ten years: more than double the amount needed for the ‘Build Back Better’ Infrastructure Bill.
There are Fifty dynastic billionaire families that hold as much wealth as the bottom half of U.S. families. Their wealth grew at ten times the rate of ordinary families over the last 40 years.
Musk arrived in America with (literally) pockets full of emeralds. His father Errol used to say that “We had so much money at times we couldn’t even close our safe”.
So no, I am not totalitarian — rather, I accuse anyone who stands up for Musk’s tax-free ride is a traitor to American democracy.
Even many much-disdained Latin American governments can get this right. Uruguay is a good model, which Wiki describes as country with a high-income economy, ranked first in Latin America in democracy, peace, low perception of corruption, and e-government.
America headed for the cliff when Reagan was driving, and hasn’t applied the brakes since.
In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now among the world’s richest men, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.
Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.
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.
Here’s the problem now:
- The minimum wage hasn’t increased in 12 years.
- Purchasing parity is the same as 1978.
- Real inflation is skyrocketing.
- Rent is unaffordable in every single state in the union.
- The real estate market is at an all-time high.
- And debt never stops compounding.
Let’s spell out what this means.
America’s tech billionaires alone could end global hunger, eradicate homelessness, and end malaria, and still have $20-Trillion to take home and split among themselves. You know, in case the polo ponies needed polishing.
They could give away $139-Trillion and still be worth as much as they were in 2000.
America is failing the most basic test: it is not pulling together as a country, because the billionaires have pulled out so far in front, that there are two countries now: the super-rich and their servants.
The government has enough money to feed and house and heal the people. What it doesn’t have is enough courage to stand up to a few rich people.
And BTW, calling politicians like AOC “radical” is a laugh in any other country. She’s a Liberal, in the CENTRE. And she’s doing good work, but she’s getting attacked by a mob of rich entitled morons.
You don’t want to know what a RADICAL would do. But if you keep going the way you are, America, you will find out.