Elon Musk fact-checks Biden on tax claim – Reuters
The owner of Twitter has denied the US president’s claim that billionaires only pay 3% of their income to the government
America’s richest man on Saturday challenged President Joe Biden’s efforts to sell voters on tax increases by saying billionaires get away with paying just 3% of their income, on average, to the federal government.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk pushed back after Biden posted a message on Twitter claiming the mega-rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. “You know the average taxes billionaires pay? » Biden asked, before answering the question himself with his 3% demand. “No billionaire should pay less tax than a teacher or a firefighter.”
Musk replied “I paid 53% tax on my Tesla stock options (40% federal and 13% state), so I have to raise the average! I also paid more income taxes than anyone in Earth’s history for 2021 and will do so again in 2022.” He then invited Twitter users of the platform’s Community Notes program to consider whether the 3% figure was accurate.
I paid 53% tax on my Tesla stock options (40% federal and 13% state), so I have to raise the average! I also paid more income taxes than anyone in the history of Earth for 2021 and will do so again in 2022.@CommunityNotesis the 3% number quoted above correct?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 18, 2023
Biden has made this claim repeatedly while promoting his efforts to raise taxes on high-income Americans. When he made the same claim in a speech last month, PolitiFact pointed out that it was untrue. “Under today’s laws, the top 25 billionaires paid an average tax rate of 16%,” said the fact-checking outlet. The group added that most teachers and firefighters are in an income bracket with effective tax rates of zero to 15%.
Biden’s 2024 budget proposal calls for raising tax rates on people with incomes above $400,000 a year and married couples earning more than $450,000. He also demanded a minimum tax of 25% on Americans whose wealth exceeds $100 million.
“Look, I think you should be able to be a billionaire if you can earn it, but just pay your fair share,” Biden said. “I think you should pay a minimum tax of 25%. It is a matter of fundamental fairness.
Musk replied, “I totally agree that everyone should pay taxes and not engage in elaborate tax avoidance schemes.” Such plans are unnecessary for low-income Americans, as more than 40% of US households pay no federal income tax.