Wealthy Americans have the attention of Washington, D.C.
On Monday, President Joe Biden unveiled a new minimum tax proposal, targeting billionaires with a 20% rate that would affect both income and unrealized capital gains.
The “Billionaire Minimum Income Tax” would levy the tax on all U.S. households worth more than $100 million. Those households represent about 0.01% of Americans.
“President Biden is a capitalist and believes that anyone should be able to become a millionaire or a billionaire,” the White House said in a statement.
“He also believes that it is wrong for America to have a tax code that results in America’s wealthiest households paying a lower tax rate than working families.”
The White House estimates that the country’s 700 billionaires would generate more than half the revenue generated by the tax proposal.
On Tuesday, Kevin O’Leary of TV’s “Shark Tank” fame called the tax “un-American,” in an interview.
According to an estimate by University of California at Berkley economist Gabriel Zucman, the top 10 U.S. billionaires would pay at least $215 billion over the next 10 years under the new tax.
Musk would pay $50 billion on estimated taxable gains of $250 billion, according to the report.
Elizabeth Warren Takes Shots at Musk
On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a longtime advocate for increasing taxes on the wealthy, went on CNBC to discuss Biden’s tax plan.
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The former presidential candidate has also been a longtime adversary of Musk, and on Tuesday she used the interview to continue her feud with the world’s richest man.
“Elon Musk didn’t make it on his own. He got huge investments from the government, from taxpayers, from those public school teachers and those minimum wage workers who have been paying their taxes all along,” Warren said in response to a question about her criticism of Musk.
“All we’re saying is that when you make it to the top, pay something in so everybody else gets a share,” she said.
“Elon Musk paying this sure is great, because he chose to sell some stock. 2018, (he was)also one of the richest people in the world, how much did Elon Musk pay that year? He paid zero,” Warren said.
Tuesday wasn’t the first time Warren claimed that Musk paid zero taxes in 2018.
“Elon Musk in 2018, we’ve actually seen his tax returns. You know how much he paid in taxes, one of the richest people in the world? Zero,” Warren said in February.
As he often does, Musk clapped back on Twitter.
Musk Gets His Taxes in Order
Musk spent the final few months of 2021 selling shares in order to pay taxes.
SEC filings also show that Musk also donated just over five million shares to an unnamed charity between Nov. 19 and Nov. 29 last year, around the same time he was unloading around $16.4 billion in shares of the group as part of a pre-arranged plan to convert earlier share options and meet U.S. tax liabilities.
It was estimated that Musk paid $11 billion in taxes in 2021.
He also exercised options to buy around 18 million shares, most of which were granted a strike price of $6.24 each. Those options increased his control over Tesla and made him the world’s richest person.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index has Musk well ahead of second place Jeff Bezos, with a total net worth of $275 billion.