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As I See It

Thanks to tax code, rich keep getting richer



Thanks to the federal government, the rich just keep getting richer. A new release of IRS records shows how little the ultra-wealthy pay in federal income taxes. Apparently it is easy to shield your money from the federal government getting its hands on it when you are super rich. For example, Elon Musk paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2018. He is hardly alone. Warren Buffet paid the government less than 10 cents for every $100 in wealth he accumulated. Jeff Bezos saw his wealth grow by $99 billion, but paid only $937 million in taxes. Mike Bloomberg paid a similar amount despite gaining $22 billion in new wealth. All told, the nation’s 25 richest people saw their worth rise by a collective $401 billion, but paid a total of just $13.6 billion in federal income tax. That is a rate of just 3.4%, well below the 28% paid by the not so wealthy. What makes this worse is that these ultra-rich are not doing anything illegal. They are simply taking advantage of federal tax laws that contain so many loopholes. President Biden has pledged to raise the top tax rate, and help the IRS crack down on cheating. Unfortunately, that does nothing to address how the very wealthy are able to protect so much of their own money by following existing tax rules.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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