Elon Musk on Saturday tweeted some choice statistics to President Joe Biden, who tweeted a statement supporting a minimum 25 percent tax on billionaires.
Musk, owner of Twitter and founder of Tesla Motors, immediately pounced, claiming he paid a combined 53 percent tax rate on Tesla stock options at both the state and federal levels. Musk added that he paid the most taxes of any individual in 2021, a claim that Forbes Magazine found likely to be true based on stock sales worth nearly $13 billion that year.
Musk tweeted, “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.”
More than three times as many people retweeted Musk’s response as retweeted Biden’s original statement. In addition, readers added context to Biden’s tweet to show that the president’s claim relies on taxing unrealized gains on unsold stocks as income, something not taxable under current IRS rules. It is estimated that nearly 18,000 tweets were sent in response to Biden’s statement, a “ratio” that suggests more people disagreed than agreed.
As a follow-up to his original tweet, Musk agreed that tax-avoidance schemes by the ultra-rich should be discouraged. Moreover, he called for the end of grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATS), which are often used to gift high-dollar sums to family members tax-free.
“I certainly agree that everyone should pay taxes and not engage in elaborate tax-avoidance schemes. Would be curious to hear how these other “billionaires” are so good at avoiding taxes! We should get rid of GRATs, but maybe other things too,” Musk concluded.
Musk’s quick responses proved that he is an individual who will stand for what he believes in, even if it means going up against the current U.S. President. His courage to speak out against the status quo has earned him respect from conservatives around the world, showing that even the powerful can be held accountable when they attempt to push their own agendas. It is thanks to people like Musk that real change can happen – something we should all strive for in our society today.