(RightWing.org) – President Joe Biden has a reputation for presenting a near-steady stream of gaffes and misstatements spanning most of his five decades of public service. His detractors call him a bold-faced liar, while his fans concede he tends to make exaggerated claims. Elon Musk recently slammed Biden’s last dance with the truth regarding a previously debunked claim about taxes.
On March 18, the President tweeted a call for billionaires to pay a minimum tax rate of 25%, calling it “basic fairness.” He included an image bearing a quote from a mid-February speech in Lanham, Maryland, claiming billionaires currently pay “about 3%,” a figure lower than school teachers and firefighters.
Elon Musk quickly responded to the tweet, explaining that he paid the IRS 40% of his earnings on his stock options with Tesla and an additional 13% in state taxes. “I must be lifting the average,” he proclaimed.
I paid 53% taxes on my Tesla stock options (40% Federal & 13% state), so I must be lifting the average!
I also paid more income tax than anyone ever in the history of Earth for 2021 and will do that again in 2022.@CommunityNotes, is the 3% number cited above accurate?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 18, 2023
Musk also asked for a comment from Twitter’s Community Notes, a system wherein users can “collaboratively add context” to “misleading” posts. Sure enough, a gray box appeared beneath Biden’s tweet clarifying his claim.
Depending on Twitter’s algorithm, a note from either the Tax Foundation or PolitiFact appears along with corresponding links to their articles. The former notes the top one percent of taxpayers pay an average rate of 25.99% in taxes, and the latter advises the country’s 25-highest earning billionaires coughed up 16%.
Either way, American billionaires pay a ton of money, perhaps more than their fair share, although that’s a topic that’s up for debate depending on to whom you talk. For instance, Republicans tend to favor big business interests believing profits will trickle down throughout the economy through job creation and other means.
Conversely, Democrats need funds to pay for their near-endless stream of entitlement and climate change programs and tend to support high taxes across the board.
As a footnote, PolitiFact debunked Biden’s 3% claim in February, as did every other credible fact-checking organization and responsible media outlet. PolitiFact also explained that even the White House disputed Biden’s figures that the nation’s top billionaires pay fewer taxes than teachers and firefighters. Go figure!
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