This month on Twitter, Elon Musk got into a public and heated exchange with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Musk, who is currently the richest man on Earth, was honored as Time Magazine’s Person …
This month on Twitter, Elon Musk got into a public and heated exchange with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Musk, who is currently the richest man on Earth, was honored as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. After the announcement was made, Warren tweeted, “Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else.”
Musk initially responded with some snarky tweets, including referring to Warren as “Senator Karen,” a derogatory term for self-entitled, complaining white women.
Later, Musk tweeted “if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.”
Musk claims he’ll pay $11 billion in taxes in 2021, which is close to what Bloomberg estimated. If true, it may be the largest tax payment in history by an individual.
Warren, who has a net worth of $12 million according to Forbes, is riding a rhetoric wave that is blaming current economic problems on the wealthy.
If the government can’t fund the things people need, the argument goes, it’s because people with the most financial resources aren’t paying into the system. If these greedy people — who got so rich providing products and services people willingly and sometimes eagerly buy — would just pay their “fair share” of taxes, we’d all be better off.
This argument easily falls apart with the most basic look at tax data. If Warren thinks Musk is a freeloader, I wonder what she thinks of the 100 million households who quite literally pay no federal taxes.
Contrary to Warren’s claims, the wealthy not only pay their fair share, they pretty much pay everyone’s share. In 2018, according to the Tax Foundation, the top 25% of taxpayers paid 87% of total federal income taxes. The top 1% paid 40% of total federal income taxes.
This doesn’t address the fact that the federal government, which has so badly mismanaged our tax dollars that it’s $30 trillion in debt, consistently squanders billions of dollars every year.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, in a December report, noted $52 billion the federal government recently squandered on such items as a study on gambling addiction that taught pigeons how to play slot machines.
Musk’s $11 billion wouldn’t have covered 25% of the total waste Paul noted in the report. The sad truth is that no matter how much the federal government collects, very little of it will be spent wisely. Can we really say what is a person’s fair share of a wasted pot of money?
Many of us have long warned that government borrowing and printing trillions of dollars to cover its exorbitant expenditures would lead to inflation. Now, that very thing is happening, but those who argued there’d be no consequences to our nation’s fiscal mismanagement are not willing to concede they were wrong. Instead, they’re seeking scapegoats.
In November, Warren claimed the nation’s rapidly rising gasoline prices rates were due to oil companies engaging in price gouging.
It was a tortured stretch of logic. If “big oil” greed explains high gas prices, it raises the question why these companies didn’t avail themselves of this price gouging policy last year when barrels of oil were at unprofitable negative numbers.
This rhetoric of scapegoats is nothing new in politics, but people need to stop falling for it. We don’t have a taxing problem. We have a spending problem.
Corporate greed can certainly have negative impacts, but it doesn’t explain inflation and the federal government’s budgetary challenges. We need to control spending in Washington, and Warren needs to acknowledge the fed’s responsibility in creating our economic problems.