Community Opinions

COMMUNITY OPINION: A response to two Americas opinion

Terry Butler writes that ProPublica income tax report shows the true two Americas.
This community opinion was written by resident Terry Butler. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.
Mr. Logue,
As usual your comments cause me to ponder. I ponder not your comments themselves but the idea that you seem to exist in a world that no longer exists, if it ever did.
I’ll be brief, but I ask you to ponder the real two Americas that comprise daily living for millions: “To capture the financial reality of the richest Americans, ProPublica undertook an analysis that has never been done before. We compared how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period.” – from Propublica.org referencing a Forbes magazine article (hardly a hot bed of Tax The Wealthy zealots);
I’m going to call this their true tax rate.
The results are stark. According to Forbes, those 25 people saw their worth rise a collective $401 billion from 2014 to 2018. They paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in those five years, the IRS data shows. That’s a staggering sum, but it amounts to a true tax rate of only 3.4%.
It’s a completely different picture for middle-class Americans, for example, wage earners in their early 40s who have amassed a typical amount of wealth for people their age. From 2014 to 2018, such households saw their net worth expand an average by about $65,000 after taxes, mostly due to the rise in value of their homes. But because the vast bulk of their earnings were salaries, their tax bills were almost as much, nearly $62,000, over that five-year period.
No one among the 25 wealthiest avoided as much tax as Buffett, the grandfatherly centibillionaire. That’s perhaps surprising, given his public stance as an advocate of higher taxes for the rich. According to Forbes, his riches rose $24.3 billion between 2014 and 2018.
Over those years, the data shows, Buffett reported paying $23.7 million in taxes.
Warren Buffet Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 2014-2018 Wealth Growth: $24.3 billion
Total income reported: $125 million (0.51% of wealth)
Total taxes paid: $23.7 million (0.10% of wealth)
Note: Values in the graphic are rounded.
That works out to a true tax rate of 0.1%, or less than 10 cents for every $100 he added to his wealth.”
https://www.propublica.org/article/the-secret-irs-files-trove-of-never-before-seen-records-reveal-how-the-wealthiest-avoid-income-tax
And from the US Census Bureau:
In 2019, there were 34.0 million people in poverty, approximately 4.2 million fewer people than 2018 (Figure 7 and Table B-1).
https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2020/demo/p60-270.html
So considering that, like the rich, folks below the poverty line pay no taxes at all and then looking at the “middle class” we begin to see that something stinks, and it’s not just simple stuff like some states requiring masks while others don’t.
A question for you personally; have you ever looked up the word “Tyranny” in any dictionary?
Terry Butler
North County

Terry Butler

Gun violence Attacks on Our Democracy