Wednesday, June 09, 2021

The Robbers and Bandits


The World Socialist Movement takes the uncommon, often unpopular, but very much the orthodox Marxist position in accordance with the Labour Theory of Value that the burden of taxation, despite a few minor exceptions, falls upon the capitalist class. When particular businesses cheat by tax evasion, they are stealing from their fellow capitalists by not paying their "fair" share of the revenue for the upkeep of government services. We already see that there are international efforts to unify different countries tax codes to close down loopholes that enable various ways to avoid taxes, as well as calls to reverse decades of tax-cuts given to the wealthy.

This leads to our stance that we don't really care about the rich tax dodgers, although it does reveal their hypocritical nonsense of being patriotic and law-abiding. Indeed some of the wealthiest claim to be philanthropists who donate to charities but it exposes the undemocratic attitude that spending policy is to be decided by these individual capitalists and not collectively by their "executive committee", the State. 

So when it comes to naming and shaming the rich for tax dishonesty, we say it is a crime far less than the thievery from working people of the fruits of our labour-power through the exploitation of the extraction of surplus-value. But we take a feeling of schadenfreude when those "captains of industry" are exposed as the crooks that they are.

 The wealth of the 25 richest Americans collectively jumped by $401bn from 2014 to 2018 - but they paid $13.6bn in income tax over those years. The richest 25 Americans paid a “true tax rate” of just 3.4%. By contrast, the median American household paid 14% in federal taxes,

Amazon's Jeff Bezos in 2007  paid no federal taxes. In 2011, when he had a net worth of $18bn, he was again able to pay no federal taxes – and even received a $4,000 tax credit for his children. Bezos’s wealth grew by $99bn over the four-year period, but he paid a true tax rate of 0.98%.

Tesla's Elon Musk's paid nothing in 2018. Over the four-year period, Musk paid 3.27%

 Warren Buffett, founder of the investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, paid $23.7m in taxes from 2014 to 2018, on a total reported income of $125m. But Buffett’s wealth grew by $24.3bn, meaning he had a “true tax rate” of 0.1%.

Michael Bloomberg with a net worth of $59bn paid 1.3%.

“America’s billionaires avail themselves of tax-avoidance strategies beyond the reach of ordinary people,” ProPublica reported. “Their wealth derives from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. Those gains are not defined by US laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell.”

Richest 25 Americans reportedly paid ‘true tax rate’ of 3.4% as wealth rocketed | Business | The Guardian

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