OK, I admit that I shamelessly stole the title to this article from my new best friend on Twitter @hale_razor, who made the crack in relation to the news that someone at the IRS leaked, or
(laugh laugh) someone had hacked, the confidential tax records of a bunch of billionaires.
Razor’s take was that this was a Deep State leak to advance the Far Left Democrats’ plan to raise taxes by stoking the average Joe’s outrage that Soros, Buffet, Bloomberg, Bezos, et al paid little or no taxes.
“There is no deep state, but the IRS can leak tax returns for liberal politics just as the Dem president pushes for new tax policy, and instead of punishing the agency there’s talk of tripling its funding,” he tweeted.
And he’s right. Here’s what ProPublica said in their first article on the stolen records:
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.
And the article went on to say:
Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, amassing little wealth and paying the federal government a percentage of their income that rises if they earn more. In recent years, the median American household earned about $70,000 annually and paid 14% in federal taxes. The highest income tax rate, 37%, kicked in this year, for couples, on earnings above $628,300.
The confidential tax records obtained by ProPublica show that the ultrarich effectively sidestep this system.
One of the more interesting things ProPublica did with the stolen data was to compare how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period. They called this their true tax rate.
The results are stark, wrote ProPublica's Jesse Eisinger, Jeff Ernsthausen and Paul Kiel.
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, said Eisinger, Ernsthausen and Kiel. 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 by about $65,000 after taxes on average, 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.
This “study” is of course intended to demonstrate that the wealthy, and who qualifies as such is a moving target for Democrats, do not pay their “fair share.”
But the “study” compares apples to oranges as our tax system does not tax “wealth” it taxes income, per the language of the Sixteenth Amendment: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
However, as ABC News commented, the report on how little the ultra-wealthy pay in taxes is rejuvenating discussions over whether and how to make sure billionaires pay more.
The White House, while condemning any potentially illegal leak of private tax data, is using the disclosure to argue for repealing Trump tax cuts for those making more than $400,000 a year.
Except that the Biden tax proposals would have a negligible impact on the taxes paid by the richest of the rich. That, progressives argue, would require a wealth tax – for which the Far Left now has a powerful argument supported by previously protected and hence unavailable evidence. And true to the formula, minutes after the electrons conveyed the ProPublica article to their screens, the New York Times was advocating for a wealth tax.
Now here’s another tip-off that our new Twitter friend @hale_razor had it right about this being a Deep State leak to advance the Democrats’ tax raising agenda – as of this writing no Democrats have criticized the leak or called for an investigation – not one.
While Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa asked IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig if there would be an investigation and prosecutions, even as Rettig said YES there would be an investigation, Democrats were mum, obviously because the leak helps them politically.
And they can count on clueless Republicans in Congress to reflexively oppose any tax increase, even on political enemies like Soros, Bezos, Buffet and Bloomberg.
We predict there will be no real investigation of how ProPublica got this material, because such an investigation would gore too many sacred cows in the Democrats’ coalition – the Treasury Department’s union goons, establishment journalists and tax-the-rich Leftists being at the top of the list.
We don’t know by what beach Lois Lerner is sipping her mimosas, but as her case proved, any lawbreaking, malfeasance or misadventure by IRS employees (or imaginary hackers) that helps advance the Democrats’ agenda will be excused, covered-up or given a pass via prosecutorial discretion. So, we can expect to see a lot more of this material waved by Far Left Democrats like Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush as proof a wealth tax is needed, but don’t expect anyone to be perp walked out of the Treasury building for releasing it.
confidential tax records
Democrats tax raising scheme
Joe Biden tax policy
Joe Biden agenda
Stolen tax records
true tax rate
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig