Ted Cruz OUTRAGED Elon Musk 'Looted' For Taxes Like Some Kind Of Middle Class Schlub
On December 23, two days before Christmas, Rep. Pramila Jayapal tweeted about Elon Musk's grand $11 billion tax sacrifice, noting that, given his wealth situation, that's actually nothing near the rate that a normal person would pay on money they earned from their regular job. Sure, it's the largest tax bill in history, but he also made $87 billion this year and $270 billion since the beginning of the pandemic. In fact, he surpassed Jeff Bezos this year to become the richest person in the world.
Elon Musk made $36 BILLION in one day, but wants to brag about paying an $11 billion tax bill.\n\nOh yeah, he also added more than $270 BILLION in wealth just since the pandemic started.\n\nTime for the rich to pay their fair share.— Pramila Jayapal (@Pramila Jayapal) 1640320560
Six days later, Sen. Ted Cruz joined the legions of Elon Musk Twitter defenders and finally came up with a snappy comeback — one which sadly did not include a reference to The Jerk Store. Rather, he suggested that Rep. Jayapal's desire for Elon Musk to pay his fair share in taxes was rooted in a personal vendetta and a desire to "loot" him and other rich people who don't pay their fair share in taxes.
Got it. You don\u2019t like @elonmusk \n\nWho else do you want to loot?https://twitter.com/pramilajayapal/status/1474237398590631944\u00a0\u2026— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz) 1640784693
Ted Cruz's salary, it is worth noting, is paid for by taxes. The only reason he has a job is because people pay taxes. Taxes that everyone but the super rich have to pay. Right now, it's likely that the wealthy owe more than $1.4 trillion in taxes from undisclosed income alone, and will owe but never pay about $7.5 trillion on undisclosed income over the next decade. With that money, we could have paid for the original Build Back Better and had a few trillion left over. I'd say, "if they'd been paying their fair share all along, we could have had universal health care," but universal health care would actually be way less expensive than what we all pay now, so that's moot.
Contrary to popular belief, taxing people is not looting, nor is it a punishment for people we don't like, unless the reason we don't like them is because they don't pay their fair share in taxes. Even if Elon Musk were a perfectly lovely and charming person, that should not actually preclude him from paying taxes. Nice people should pay taxes, mean people should pay taxes, people who are somewhere in the middle should pay taxes — because it's an obligation, not a character assessment.
If it were a punishment, it would be a pretty terrible one, as someone with $300 billion is not going to notice $11 billion of that going missing. It's not like he's going to have to change his budget. Quite frankly, he wouldn't have to change his budget if he were taxed $299 billion, as there's not much of a difference, experientially, between $1 billion and $300 billion. It's hardly as if he'd have to cut back on going out to dinner.
Also contrary to popular belief, stanning for billionaires on Twitter is highly unlikely to lead to becoming a billionaire oneself.
The idea that "anyone" can become as rich as Elon Musk is absurd, given the fact that we have a finite amount of resources and cannot actually function as a society without people doing work that isn't just investing. We need people to do actual work, or we would all starve to death. I hate to get all Kant-y about things, but if we were to will it to be a universal law that everyone be an Elon Musk-style billionaire, we'd all be broke because money is worthless if other people aren't working to make things to spend it on. You can have a billion dollars, sure, but you can't buy a Big Mac unless there's someone there to man the drive-thru.
Billionaires rely on everyone else's existence in order for their billions to be worth anything. They rely on our tax dollars as well. Without public education, for instance, those who make their money from "investments" would have a hell of a time finding anything to invest in.
It's almost as if we are all connected and, yes, live in a society. If billionaires benefit from that society, it stands to reason that they ought to contribute as much of their income to the tax base as anyone else does.
To address the "point" that the many billionaire defenders made in the responses to both Cruz's and Rep. Jayapal's tweets — everyone understands that no one pays taxes on capital gains until they are realized. The larger problem is the "buy, borrow, die" strategy that billionaires like Musk have employed in order to never actually have to realize any of those gains while living lavishly on low-interest bank loans they are able to get because of how much their investments are worth, as well as other tax maneuvers that allow them to not have to pay taxes at all. Musk may be paying $11 billion this year, but in both 2015 and 2017 he paid less than $70,000.
Obviously something is very, very wrong here, and clearly some things need to be fixed in our system in order to make sure everyone does pay their fair share, particularly those who have reaped the biggest benefits from living in our society. In the meantime, however, world's richest man Elon Musk will probably be just fine without Ted Cruz fighting for his honor.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse