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Tipsheet

Details of Biden's New 'Billionaire' Tax Don't Match the Name

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The White House began dropping hints about President Biden's budget for the next fiscal year over the weekend, and one tax in particular — a transparent attempt to please radical Democrats — is an unsurprising reality-denying provision with details that contradict what the White House is making it out to be. In fact, President Biden's proposal for a "Billionaire Minimum Income Tax" seems to be more of a public relations stunt than a meaningful policy proposal.

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According to White House fact sheets — "fact" apparently used loosely — Biden's new tax supposedly aimed at billionaires to "ensure that the very wealthiest Americans pay a tax rate of at least 20 percent on their full income, including unrealized appreciation" actually kicks in for any household worth more than... $100 million? 

Fox Business obtained the White House's memo and explains more on Biden's proposal to supposedly make taxes more fair:

As part of the plan, a 20% minimum tax rate would be placed on U.S. households worth more than $100 million, with more than half the revenue coming from households worth more than $1 billion.

"This minimum tax would make sure that the wealthiest Americans no longer pay a tax rate lower than teachers and firefighters," the document stated.

Wealthy households who already pay 20% on their full income will not pay an additional tax under the proposal. However, the document noted that if a "tax-free unrealized income allows a wealthy household to pay less than 20 percent on their full income, they will owe a top-up payment to meet the 20 percent minimum."

The document also said the tax "will eliminate the ability for the unrealized income of ultra-high-net-worth households to go untaxed for decades or generations."

Additionally, the document claimed the minimum income tax will "make America’s tax code fairer and reduce the deficit by about $360 billion in just the next decade."

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So Biden's "billionaires tax" — a name that will poll well among radical Democrats and give The Squad a fun talking point — actually hits Americans worth just 10 percent of $1 billion. Of course, the disconnect between what the White House is trying to make the proposed tax out to be and who the tax would actually hit is not being noted by most in the mainstream media. They're taking the White House's word and running with the "billionaire" language.

All the insistence from the likes of Elizabeth Warren that Elon Musk and other super-wealthy Americans aren't paying their "fair share" in taxes is now being extended to other so-called "one percenters" in the name of "progress," or whatever. Despite the misleading headlines aimed at gassing up "progressive" Democrats with a new proposal to rally around, it's ignorant of the tax's real impact and the reality of the current tax code.

As Jazz Shaw points out over at our sister site Hot Air, "under the current system, the top ten percent of earners in the United States (those making more than $151K per year) pay more than 70% of the taxes collected by the government. The top one percent (making more than $546K) pay nearly 40% by themselves. The idea that high earners aren’t 'paying their fair share' is simply a display of intentional ignorance."

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So a system in which the wealthiest ten percent of Americans pay close to three-quarters of taxes and the top one percent are paying 40 percent is "unfair" to Democrats, but not in the obvious way. 

Biden's new gift-to-The-Squad proposal has other problems, too. "Another detail of the proposed tax hike should also run into opposition and a likely court challenge," Shaw notes. "The description of the amount of 'income' to be taxed includes the phrase 'unrealized investment income.' In other words, if the shares comprising your retirement plan or your stock portfolio go up by a given percentage, that increase will be treated as income and you’ll be taxed on it even though you haven’t cashed it in yet."

Is the White House's decision to trot out a new sounds-good, doesn't-work proposal an attempt to distract from Biden's inability to otherwise handle the economy as inflation sits at four-decade highs? Is it a ploy to give Democrats up for election in November something to talk about on the campaign trail that doesn't immediately remind voters of Biden's many crises and policy failures?

Whatever the case, the proposed wealth tax is ultimately nothing new. During the Obama-Biden administration, taxing the rich became a common refrain. The "one percent" became evil and the economic impacts of forcing the wealthy to "pay their fair share" — a vague feel-good rallying cry for leftists — became unimportant. And here we go again. 

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Elizabeth Warren can get all excited about taking more money from Elon Musk. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can claim her Met Gala gown worked. And the mainstream media can continue parroting what the Biden administration feeds it, no matter how much White House talking points are contradicted by reality.

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