Revelations that ultra billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk pay no taxes was not that shocking. Irritating, but not surprising.
Then I saw the Tulsa World cartoon on June 16 showing a caricature of a smiling Bezos in a dollar rocket heading to outer space with the caption “Money to burn … not a nickel for taxes.”
That made my blood boil.
Why is it we accept that it is OK for these people not to pay their fair share, while people like me fork out a large percentage each year to pay for government programs, including national defense?
These people have swarms of lawyers and tax accountants working the numbers and spreadsheets.
While that is an obvious truth, the fact remains that these folks would have nothing to work with but for the special laws enabling the rich to shield their income.
There are two reasons for this.
Congress members and senators spend a substantial part of every day raising funds for their re-election, whether it is two or six years away.
The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United opinion gutted the law restricting campaign contributions, and people like Bezos, Musk and others can contribute huge sums of money to political campaigns.
Another reason is the fear that making Bezos and Musk pay their fair share would be a strike against capitalism, and it would inevitably lead to socialism.
In the end, money and fear rule.
John Harlan, Tulsa
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