Twitter CEO Elon Musk challenged President Joe Biden’s claim that average billionaires do not pay their “fair share” of taxes.
On Twitter, Biden emphasized that “you should be a billionaire if you earn it,” but you need to pay your “fair share,” and cited a minimum 25% tax rate for wealthy citizens. The graphic states that average billionaires pay a 3% tax.
Look, I think you should be able to be a billionaire if you can earn it, but just pay your fair share.
I think you ought to pay a minimum tax of 25%.
It’s about basic fairness. pic.twitter.com/oHgreYCdUz
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 18, 2023
Musk responded to Biden’s tweet with a personal “fact-check,” citing the amount of taxes he paid in 2021 and 2022 while tagging an account called “Community Notes,” to determine the accuracy of the 3% figure Biden cited.
I paid 53% taxes on my Tesla stock options (40% Federal & 13% state), so I must be lifting the average!
I also paid more income tax than anyone ever in the history of Earth for 2021 and will do that again in 2022.@CommunityNotes, is the 3% number cited above accurate?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 18, 2023
Musk continued by saying he agrees that “everyone should pay taxes” and avoid engaging in “tax-avoidance schemes.”
I certainly agree that everyone should pay taxes and not engage in elaborate tax-avoidance schemes.
Would be curious to hear how these other “billionaires” are so good at avoiding taxes!
We should get rid of GRATs, but maybe other things too.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 18, 2023
In December 2021, Musk tweeted that he would pay over $11 billion in taxes.
For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2021
A Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) is a “financial instrument used in estate planning to minimize taxes on large financial gifts to family members,” according to Investopedia.
Biden’s tweet, seen by over 14 million users, now has a “Community Note,” which labels the tweet as “inaccurate.”
A Community Note “aims to create a better-informed world, by empowering people on Twitter to collaboratively add helpful notes to Tweets that might be misleading,” according to the social media platform’s description.
The Community Note on Biden’s tweet includes links to three fact-checking sources. It contradicts the figures he provided.
“This claim has been repeatedly assessed as inaccurate. It relies on a theoretical calculation that treats unrealized capital gains (increase in the value of unsold stocks) as income even though current tax law does not. (Taxes occur once stocks are sold for profit.),” it says.
At an event in Pennsylvania, Biden proposed a budget plan that includes $5.5 trillion in tax increases over the next decade.
Biden’s proposal is likely to be struck down in the GOP-led House. Republicans have already criticized his plan.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) stated that the proposal was “designed to satisfy” Biden’s political base, not become law.
“Raising corporate taxes would cause companies and good jobs to leave America, as they have in the past,” Romney added. “Rather than aggressively beefing up the number of border agents and drug enforcement personnel to counter the fentanyl crisis, he balloons the number of IRS agents.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and other Republicans called Biden’s proposal “reckless.”
“President Joe Biden’s budget is a reckless proposal doubling down on the same Far Left spending policies that have led to record inflation and our current debt crisis,” they said.
Unlike Biden’s claims, the wealthy pay their “fair share” of taxes. In 2018, the top 1% of earners in the U.S. accounted for 40% of all taxes paid.
Democrats lie. The rich pay much more than their "fair share" in taxes. https://t.co/dd0vNbGjHW pic.twitter.com/laFSZy8hpN
— Ulfrich Eichel of Backwardist Hermeneutics (@EichelUlfrich) August 20, 2022
Instead of increasing taxes and hindering economic success, responsible spending would be a better approach to economic growth.