Elon Musk brags about his taxes and revives the “rich tax”


FigueresAmid debate over whether America’s rich are paying enough taxes, Tesla magnate Elon Musk has reignited the movement Taxing the rich By making sure that this year will be the American who will file the highest tax payment in the country’s history: more than $11,000 million. Make it public when, after choosing it person of the Year from the magazine timeDemocratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has called again for a change in the tax system so that he “really pays the taxes he would have to pay” and “stops taking advantage of others.” However, this figure is rather disingenuous and reinforces the arguments of those in favor of raising taxes on the rich. “The ad was more opportunistic than appropriate,” sums up a professor of financial and tax law at the University of California, Benja Angeles.

There is no real estate tax in the United States, and Musk has been building his fortune over the past few years. But so far, he sold shares in the company, and had to pay income tax. Alejandro Esteller, professor of economics at the University of Buffalo and director of the tax district at the IEB (Instituto de Economy de Barcelona), recalls. In addition, As Inglis explains, “Musk’s fortune is estimated to exceed $315,000 million, so taxes paid in 2021 on his assets would mean just over 3%.”

According to the investigation by ProPublica published in June, the Tesla magnate, between 2014 and 2018, made $14,000 million, but paid only $455 million. “The payment of taxes has been deferred. The very wealthy or the very rich have the advantage of having a greater ability to do so, because they have sufficient income that they do not have to sell any share or dividend, for example this is to them they benefit from, because during the five years or so The tenth it takes to give that money to the state, they invest it and they get a return,” Esteller points out. In addition to Musk, ProPublica also announced that the 25 richest Americans – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and Warren Buffett, among them – pay less than 3% of their wealth.

Thus, one of the options the Joe Biden administration is considering to get business leaders to pass a little money is to implement a wealth tax that only affects the super-rich (and not so much). Biden has always repeated that “it is time for the big corporations and the richest 1% in the country to pay what is fair.” Other Democratic leaders, such as Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also lobbied for the slogan. Taxing the rich.

Outside the United States, the desire to make more big business and the wealthy also spreads. In fact, last year 136 countries around the world reached an agreement in principle to apply a minimum rate of 15% to multinational corporations. “This is the way to go. In the global economy, there is a need for a global tax system,” says tax advisor and UPF professor Albert Sagos. Along those lines, Estellés points out, the next step will be the creation of a global wealth tax. “Maybe it’s a little delusional, but well, a few years ago, a tax on multinational corporations was also out of the question.” In addition, they stress the need to avoid interdepartmental competition. “Mask left California to go to Texas, for the same reason that so many here chose to go to Madrid,” says Estiller. “You generate wealth at the expense of others and take advantage of the rich. Today’s bread, tomorrow’s hunger.”

“The most ideal solution – continues Esteller – is to make the wealthy see the need to pay taxes in order to have a cohesive and secure society without populist parties.” Unlike Musk, there are many backward Americans who are demanding higher taxes. Warren Buffett, for example, as early as 2007, in one of the interviews cited by most supporters Taxing the rich, publicly denounced that he had paid less than his secretary.

The rich in the US pay much less than the rich in Catalonia

The first difference between the two tax authorities is that in the United States they do not have a wealth tax. “Spain is the only country in the European Union that has this law, but with many exceptions, and as always, once the law is enacted, the trap is committed. It is flawed: the wealthy may have to pay more, but says Alejandro Esteller, professor of economics at the University of Buffalo and director of the tax district at the Barcelona Institute of Economics: “They are rich, they have a little financial engineering, they find loopholes.”

On the other hand, as pointed out by tax expert and professor at UB Eva Andrés, the income tax in the United States is lower than here. As he explains, while in Catalonia the tax rate from over 175,000 euros is 48%, in the US from half a million dollars onwards it is only 37%. However, it must be said that many federal states tax more – 6% more on average – on income than they do at the state level. However, Andrés stresses that there are many exceptions in the United States and that disagreement with Catalonia is “very bad”.

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