What happened—investigative journalism outlet ProPublica accessed some secretive tax returns documents and did a pretty damning piece on how much taxes billionaires end up paying each year. Clearly not a lot.
Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg were some of the most notable “hero” billionaires mentioned in the report—each paid well under 4% of a “true” tax rate, as a percentage of the wealth growth they witnessed for most part of the last decade.
The caveat—simplest rebuttal for the argument is that taxes are paid on reported “income”, not appreciation in wealth, which is what the article gets totally wrong. Bezos for example makes most of his wealth just by holding Amazon stock which is flying through the roof, which isn’t legally “tax evasion”.
But the idea behind the analysis is to stoke concerns and raise a “sentimental” question on why those who have the most pay so low, while average families are taxed at 30-40% each year, around the world.
Bottomline—IRS is investigating how ProPublica got its hands on the report in the first place. But far as action goes, the world has seen 100 reports like this in the past, and once the “journalists” get their views, it all cools off pretty soon.