Joe Biden’s dumpster-fire presidency once again lurched into clown-show territory when he spotlighted his gaping ignorance of U.S. tax laws this weekend and got savagely fact-checked by billionaire Elon Musk.
The hilarity unfolded on Saturday when the 80-year-old career politician accused billionaires of not paying their “fair share” of taxes.
“Look, I think you should be able to be a billionaire if you can earn it, but just pay your fair share,” Biden tweeted. “I think you ought to pay a minimum tax of 25%. It’s about basic fairness.”
Biden’s tweet included a graphic of his own quote that said: “You know the average tax billionaires pay? Three percent. No billionaire should be paying a lower tax than somebody working as a schoolteacher or a firefighter.”
Look, I think you should be able to be a billionaire if you can earn it, but just pay your fair share.
I think you ought to pay a minimum tax of 25%.
It’s about basic fairness. pic.twitter.com/oHgreYCdUz
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 18, 2023
The quote is a cleaned-up version of the president’s remarks during a March 9 speech at a union training center in Philadelphia.
“When I got elected, there were roughly — don’t hold me to the exact number because it varies — around 650 billionaires in America. Now there’s over a thousand.
“You know what the average tax they pay — federal tax? Three percent. T-H-R-E-E. Three percent.
“No billionaire should be paying a lower tax than somebody working as a schoolteacher or a firefighter or a — any of you in this room.”
It’s unclear where the president pulled the 3 percent figure from, since it contradicts a White House fact sheet published just last month stating, “In a typical year, billionaires pay an average tax rate of just 8%.”
Indeed, PolitiFact rated Biden’s March 9 claim as “false.”
“Under current laws, the 25 highest-earning billionaires paid a 16% tax rate on average, estimates show,” the left-leaning fact-checker said. “Meanwhile, among households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 a year — the category that many teachers and firefighters would fall into — the vast majority paid effective tax rates of between 0% and 15%.”
Musk — whose net worth tops $184 billion — also weighed in on Biden’s tweet, underscoring that he has paid more income taxes than anyone in the history of the world.
“I paid 53% taxes on my Tesla stock options (40% Federal & 13% state), so I must be lifting the average!” the Twitter CEO tweeted.
“I also paid more income tax than anyone ever in the history of Earth for 2021 and will do that again in 2022.”
I paid 53% taxes on my Tesla stock options (40% Federal & 13% state), so I must be lifting the average!
I also paid more income tax than anyone ever in the history of Earth for 2021 and will do that again in 2022.@CommunityNotes, is the 3% number cited above accurate?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 18, 2023
“I certainly agree that everyone should pay taxes and not engage in elaborate tax-avoidance schemes,” he added. “Would be curious to hear how these other ‘billionaires’ are so good at avoiding taxes!”
I certainly agree that everyone should pay taxes and not engage in elaborate tax-avoidance schemes.
Would be curious to hear how these other “billionaires” are so good at avoiding taxes!
We should get rid of GRATs, but maybe other things too.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 18, 2023
Musk also invited Twitter users to check Biden’s math via the Community Notes feature, and they did so, adding a context note undermining the president’s tweet. It cited data from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation indicating the “top 1% of taxpayers paid a 25.99% avg rate, more than eight times higher than the 3.1% avg rate paid by the bottom half of taxpayers.”
It’s not unusual for Democrats to parrot the intellectually lazy fallacy that the rich don’t pay enough taxes and that they pay less in taxes than lower-income people.
In reality, high-income earners typically pay much higher average income tax rates than those with lower incomes.
“The top 1 percent of taxpayers [those with an adjusted gross income of $548,336 and higher] paid the highest average income tax rate of 25.99 percent — more than eight times the rate faced by the bottom half of taxpayers,” the Tax Foundation noted.
In 2020, the top 1 percent of U.S. taxpayers “accounted for more income taxes paid than the bottom 90 percent combined,” the nonprofit think tank said. “The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid $723 billion in income taxes, while the bottom 90 percent paid $450 billion.
“The share of income taxes paid by the top 1 percent increased from 33.2 percent in 2001 to 42.3 percent in 2020. Over the same period, the share paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers fell from 4.9 percent to just over 2.3 percent in 2020.”
It’s easy to demonize the rich, but with the exception of flagrant tax fraudsters (which exist at all income levels), the wealthy pay far more in taxes — both absolutely and relatively — than lower-income groups.
Democrats lie. The rich pay much more than their “fair share” in taxes. https://t.co/dd0vNbGjHW pic.twitter.com/laFSZy8hpN
— Ulfrich Eichel of Backwardist Hermeneutics (@EichelUlfrich) August 20, 2022
Besides, constantly raising taxes is not the catch-all solution for skyrocketing inflation and a sinking economy, despite what clueless Democrats think.
I’m once again using my presidential authority to activate emergency security assistance to continue helping Ukraine fend off Russia’s assault.
An additional $800 million.
That brings the total in new U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to $1 billion just this week.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 16, 2022
Instead of cranking up taxes and penalizing success, exercising responsible spending would be a better approach to restoring financial stability.
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