It’s Time for the Rich to Start Paying Their Fair Share

Higher income tax won’t affect the ultra-wealthy because their wealth doesn’t come from regular income.

J.C. Peters
4 min readJun 9, 2021
Jeff Bezos at the ENCORE awards, Steve Jurvetson

I don’t mind paying taxes. Taxes pay for all kinds of useful things like roads, cops, teachers, judges, health care, $100 million dollar fighter jets (all right, maybe not everything is just as useful, but still).

What I do mind is having to pay taxes while the richest people don’t. Yet that is exactly what’s happening, according to recently released tax records for 25 of the wealthiest Americans by journalism nonprofit ProPublica.

According to these files, Jeff Bezos, aka guy-who-made-billions-off-a-global-pandemic-that-killed-millions, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011. And although he added an estimated $99 billion to his fortune between 2014 and 2018, he reported just $4.22 billion in taxable income during that period, resulting in an effective tax rate of less than 1 percent.

And that wasn’t even the lowest tax rate.Warren Buffet added $24.3 billion to his wealth during the same period but reportedly paid only 0.10% tax.

Other billionaires paid slightly more but still far less than what regular people pay. Michael Bloomberg, for instance, paid only…

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J.C. Peters

Author of History That Changed the World (Odyssea Publishing, 2017). Published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, on CNBC, The Hill, Quartz, and other media.