Elon Musk made a bold claim on Twitter on Tuesday. The Tesla founder said he would “pay more taxes than any American in history this year.”
Is the claim true? Only the IRS knows for certain who the largest taxpayer in US history is, but Forbes says Musk appears to be right.
“The eccentric billionaire (and the world’s richest person) likely owes the federal government at least $8.3 billion for 2021,” Forbes reports.
Business Insider projects Musk’s tax bill is even higher when state taxes are included.
“Taxes on his stock, nearly a billion in Net Investment Income Tax, and the billions he likely owes California could add up to about $12 billion in total,” report Jason Lalljee and Andy Kiersz.
CNBC, meanwhile, figured Musk’s total tax bill was even higher—$15 billion.
The bulk of Musk’s tax bill stems from the nearly $13 billion in Tesla stock sold as of December 13, which is even larger than the record $10.2 billion worth of Amazon stock Jeff Bezos sold last year.
Elon Musk will pay over $15,000,000,000 in taxes this year, the most in American history.
— Jeff 💙✌️ (@JeffTutorials) December 15, 2021
Freeloading Off Everyone Else?
Whatever Musk’s tax bill ends up being, it’s worth examining the context of his claim. Musk was not bragging that he had the largest tax bill in history; on the contrary, he was responding to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who—somewhat unfathomably—lashed out at Musk for not paying his fair share of taxes.
“Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else,” Warren tweeted.
Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else. https://t.co/jqQxL9Run6
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) December 13, 2021
You read that correctly. Warren, the progressive lawmaker from Massachusetts, called Musk a freeloader. It’s possible that Warren didn’t know that Musk is set to pay more in taxes than any American—perhaps human being—in history, but it’s more likely she simply does not care and is comfortable peddling the fiction that Musk isn’t paying taxes. Warren made this clear in subsequent remarks after Musk had responded to the Senator.
“He’s the richest guy in the world, and he just doesn’t want to pay taxes,” Warren said. “That’s what it’s all about for me.”
“I gotta say, on behalf of every school teacher who pays taxes, on behalf of every waitress who pays taxes, on behalf of every American citizen who goes out and works for a living and pays taxes …that’s just fundamentally wrong. We have a broken tax system that lets Elon Musk freeload off everyone else, and it needs to stop.”
Warren’s claim that Musk is a “freeloader” is preposterous, of course. Taking the lowest estimate on what Musk is expected to pay, he’ll cough up more in taxes than the entire state of Massachusetts collected in sales and use taxes through the first half of 2021—from its 7 million residents.
Moreover, unlike Warren, who collects a salary from the government, Musk earned much of his wealth by creating value. Tesla employs nearly 80,000 people who’ve built no fewer than 623,000 energy-efficient cars in 2021 alone. Its market cap is nearly $1 trillion, which has made untold numbers of Tesla employees and shareholders wealthy. Warren, on the other hand, creates nothing. Every dollar of her $174,000 salary—and the money she pays her staff with—comes from funds confiscated from taxpayers. Every dollar she authorizes to be spent was taken from someone else who earned it.
Musk’s success should be applauded, but instead Warren—the true freeloader—accuses him of “freeloading” and believes he should be paying more.
A Philosophy Built on Envy
What really appears to bother Warren is that Musk has so much. In other words, it’s a politics rooted in envy.
Envy is considered one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and for good reason. It’s a corrosive disposition that harms both individuals and societies. The celebrated philosopher Immanuel Kant described envy as,
“…a propensity to view the well-being of others with distress, even though it does not detract from one’s own. [It is] a reluctance to see our own well-being overshadowed by another’s because the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well-being but how it compares with that of others. [It] aims, at least in terms of one’s wishes, at destroying others’ good fortune.”
The pre-Socratic philosopher Democritus (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC)—in a wonderfully libertarian quote—once warned of the danger of envy and purpose of the law.
“[Just] laws would not prevent each man from living according to his inclination, unless individuals harmed each other; for envy creates the beginning of strife,” he wrote.
Strife is precisely what Warren and those who share her philosophy are sowing, and it’s clear she and others view Musk’s good fortune with distress. If that’s not envy, I don’t know what is.
Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.
Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
Will America-First News Outlets Make it to 2023?
Things are looking grim for conservative and populist news sites.
There’s something happening behind the scenes at several popular conservative news outlets. 2021 was bad, but 2022 is proving to be disastrous for news sites that aren’t “playing ball” with the corporate media narrative. It’s being said that advertisers are cracking down, forcing some of the biggest ad networks like Google and Yahoo to pull their inventory from conservative outlets. This has had two major effects. First, it has cooled most conservative outlets from discussing “taboo” topics like Pandemic Panic Theater, voter fraud, or The Great Reset. Second, it has isolated those ad networks that aren’t playing ball.
Certain topics are anathema for most ad networks. Speaking out against vaccines or vaccine mandates is a certain path to being demonetized. Highlighting voter fraud in the 2020 and future elections is another instant advertising death penalty. Throw in truthful stories about climate change hysteria, Critical Race Theory, and the border crisis and it’s easy to understand how difficult it is for America-First news outlets to spread the facts, share conservative opinions, and still pay the bills.
Without naming names, I have been told of several news outlets who have been forced to either consolidate with larger organizations or who have backed down on covering certain topics out of fear of being “canceled” by the ad networks. I get it. This is a business for many of us and it’s not very profitable. Those of us who do this for a living are often barely squeaking by, so loss of additional revenue can often mean being forced to make cuts. That means not being able to cover the topics properly. Its a Catch-22: Tell the truth and lose the money necessary to keep telling the truth, or avoid the truth and make enough money to survive. Those who have chosen survival simply aren’t able to spread the truth properly.
We will never avoid the truth. The Lord will provide if it is His will. Our job is simply to share the facts, spread the Gospel, and educate as many Americans as possible while exposing the forces of evil.
To those who have the means, we ask that you please donate. We have options available now, but there is no telling when those options will cancel us. We just launched a new GiveSendGo page. We also have our GivingFuel page. There have been many who have been canceled by PayPal, but for now it’s still an option. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to get the truth to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
Thank you, and God Bless!