Last week, members of Congress applauded the acts of a significant journalistic operation for their “responsible” reporting of stolen information. President Biden was silent regarding an attack on his government’s taxing agency. All of this was done to advance a policy goal of the Left.
ProPublica is a nonprofit that states it is a “newsroom that aims to produce investigative journalism in the public interest.” As they stated, “ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns on thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years.” This is a misleading statement as what they have is personal information on specifically identified American taxpayers. They stated they received this information from an anonymous source. They consider this a journalistic coup.
This is not the Pentagon Papers or even the information published by Wikileaks. There was great debate whether those releases of information were legitimate. There should be no debate whether this was legitimate. This is the individual tax information for many people. Our government, in the hands of the Internal Revenue Service, has made a solemn promise to the American people to protect the privacy of every person filing a return.
ProPublica had a journalistic right to publish this information, but it is a disgusting act by a publishing entity. Upon being contacted by this “anonymous source,” they should have immediately contacted the Treasury Dept. and set up a sting operation to capture the criminal that stole this information. No American should cheer what these people did because this could have been your tax file being released in public. The authors and every American should think about what they would say if it were their information being bantered across multiple news sources.
Yet, the Left (ProPublica is a Left-wing publication) can always justify their actions because their cause is right. In the first of many articles they will publish on this matter, they stated “One of the billionaires mentioned in this article objected, arguing that publishing personal tax information is a violation of privacy. We have concluded that the public interest in knowing this information at this pivotal moment outweighs that legitimate concern.” It is always nice when you know your cause is just even if it is illegal.
Their cause became quite clear in the first few pages of this 31-page article. The authors want a wealth tax which is unconstitutional and believes we will never have a fair tax system until we tax people’s wealth. That is why they justify in their minds this disgusting attack on our freedom. While our government is railing against hacks on companies like Colonial Pipeline, there is barely a peep about this theft of our tax agency’s files.
If you do not believe me on this believe Senator Warren, a true ideologue. She linked the article in a tweet and stated “We all knew the tax system was rigged for the ultra-rich – the ProPublica numbers just mashed it in everyone’s faces. It is time for those at the top to pay a fair share so we can build an America that works for everybody. That’s why we need a #WealthTax.” That is a sitting U.S. Senator applauding the theft of IRS tax files for her political purposes. And she wanted to be president. If elected as such she would have likely released all our tax files in her “just cause.”
And the reason they are harping on the wealth tax other than being a political goal is they cannot argue that any of the people cited in the column did not comply with the tax laws. In fact, there are no claims of anyone not complying. It is that these individuals, just like you and I, accumulated wealth without paying an annual tax on that wealth.
They started by focusing on four people — Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, and Warren Buffett. Three of these people are committed Democrats; Musk is not. It is always fascinating to see people like this supporting Democrats. It was only a matter of time before the Left came after them. Democrats, in general, believe one could only accumulate this much wealth through some type of wrongdoing. That is why they are driving the idea of a wealth tax.
One of these victims is a 90-year-old man and ProPublica cites him as the worst offender as he paid the least tax despite arguing for higher taxes on successful people. This is a man who lives in the same home he purchased in 1958 which is worth far south of $1 million. He takes the same annual salary he did 40 years ago and lives off of the appreciation of his stock which benefits his investors – he does not make money unless they make money. You can bet if he did take a major salary the argument would be made it was excessive because the level of salary was some unacceptable multiple of his employees. Additionally, he has already donated a substantial amount of his fortune to charity and most of the remainder will go to charity when he dies. You cannot win with these people who have contempt for successful people and can find any justification for taxing away their “ill-gotten” profits.
ProPublica stated these success stories are gaming the system. ProPublica even devised their own system of determining how they gamed the system. They concocted a contrived calculation that has zero basis in any reality other than their alternative universe. They determined the growth in each taxpayer’s wealth over a four-year period from 2014 through 2018 from Forbes magazine annual surveys. Then they added in the taxable reported income for each taxpayer and told us the amount of tax they paid. ProPublica calculated the tax as a percentage of each taxpayer’s taxable income and wealth increase and came up with what ProPublica determined their “true” rate of tax. This came in below 1% under their devised system that has nothing to do with the current tax system or their dreamed of a system where wealth is taxed. Talk about cooking the books. The mafia could use them as consultants.
Yet they argue their demented system is the only true way to tell how much tax is being paid and that these Americans are not paying their fair share. According to the Tax Policy Center based on IRS statistics, the top 1% of earners paid an average tax rate of 30.2% in 2019. The middle 20% paid an average rate of 12.4% and over 50% of taxpayers pay no federal income taxes.
There is no length the people like the staff of ProPublica will go to punish successful people and lie about them not paying their “fair share.” In this case, they went so far as to work with criminals to manipulate facts to convince people that the “rich” need to pay even more. When you hate Capitalism and want to punish anyone who succeeds from the fruits of their labors, it is time to invoke Cole Porter from nearly a century ago – Anything Goes.
As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.