US billionaires don’t pay tax, and our politicians don’t seem bothered

This month, ProPublica revealed that American billionaires essentially do not pay taxes, and within hours the White House had awkwardly promised no fewer than four federal investigations into the identity of the individual who had alerted the news organization to this fact. By Thursday, a North Carolina congressman was demanding the FBI director explain why he hadn’t made any arrests or at the very least, “executed any search warrants or raided any offices” in the international manhunt for the leaker. ProPublica carefully chose the six billionaires whose tax returns it chose to single out for specific scrutiny. But ProPublica seems to have deliberately underthrown. After breathlessly informing readers they possessed a “trove” of 15 years’ worth of tax returns on literally “thousands” of the world’s richest people, the story’s three authors proceeded to weave a few juicy and non-contextualized facts into a narrative that felt like a protracted sidebar to the “real” story. We learned that the 25 richest billionaires in America added $401bn to their net worths between 2014 and 2018 and paid about 3% of that amount in taxes, but we didn’t learn much about any specific billionaire’s tax avoidance strategies. Fifteen years of tax return information on thousands of American plutocrats is, to be sure, one of the biggest stories of the decade. It’s just not clear ProPublica has that much appetite for sticking with the story.

Note: In the US, former tax lobbyists often write the rules on tax dodging. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.

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Author: {Want To Know}

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