An analysis of IRS data has revealed that the wealthiest Americans are paying income tax rates far lower than working class Americans – and the usual suspects are the ones paying the least. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             An analysis of IRS data has revealed that the wealthiest Americans are paying income tax rates far lower than working class Americans and the usual suspects, well, they’re the ones paying the least. No surprise here. Great article done by ProPublica. I don’t know how they got the material. I mean, they, this is hard work to get this material, pick it up.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah, absolutely and of course, you know, we’ve got all of these individuals. These are the top 400 wealthiest people in the United States. Many of them paying tax rates in the low teens or very high single digits.

Mike Papantonio:             Run through some of the numbers.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. Bill Gates, he paid a tax rate of 18.4. Then Steve Ballmer, who now runs Microsoft, 14.1% Bloomberg, income of $2 billion, paid a tax rate of 4.1%. Bezos, 23%. So a little bit higher for Bezos, I guess.

Mike Papantonio:             Betsy DeVos, 10%.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. The billionaire DeVos family here, 10%. And then, you know, the Walton heir, Tom Walton, heir to Walmart, he actually paid 23%.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  But those are, the 23% is relatively what a lower income American making 40,000 a year, they’re probably gonna pay about 23%.

Mike Papantonio:             Add to that, that these are the same people that have offshore banks.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             These, this is money we never see, you understand. They offshore the money, a corporation offshores the money. And then we have to plead with them, oh, will you please bring your money back in from the Isle of Man? And they say, well, if you’ll negotiate with us and so they negotiate, the money comes back in only when the feds agree, well, we’re only gonna make you pay 5% on that money.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Everybody else is paying regular tax rates. Everybody else is doing exactly what they’re supposed to do. This is a tragedy and it’s just, nobody seems to be willing to stop it.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, it is, you know, and, and we discussed, because it was revealed a couple years ago that there is this building down there, I think in the Cayman islands, it’s just this building and there’s nothing but a bunch of PO boxes in there and in there are the PO boxes of some of the largest corporations and the wealthiest individuals because that’s their address. That’s, that’s where they officially live so they can avoid paying these taxes. It’s crazy.

Mike Papantonio:             You did, you did a story one time in the, in the trial lawyer magazine and the number was staggering. It was 400 billion dollars. Was, is that number correct?

Farron Cousins:                  I, I think, well that was, you know, at least what it was a couple years ago. I’m willing to bet at this point, it’s a lot higher.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  Considering the excessive wealth we’re seeing that these individuals are hoarding now.

Mike Papantonio:             And, and so that’s in the islands and we have to plea, please bring it back.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             And please pay some taxes, but we’re gonna let you pay 5%. Everything’s gonna be okay.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.