"Only the little people pay taxes"

We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.
       - Leona Helmsley, billionaire real estate tax dodger

                                                        Source: Ralph Nader images

Happy Tax Day! Only kidding.

The very rich and corporations try harder and are more effective in general in avoiding paying taxes than the rest of us. Here are a few numbers reflecting current tax priorities, legislative responses to promote tax fairness and economic and political equality, and how we, "the little people," can become more active in promoting tax fairness and beyond.

0 - Number of people who enjoy paying taxes. 

19,113 - Federal taxes paid by the average tax payer in the U.S. in 2023.

5,110 - Federal taxes paid by the average tax payer in the U.S. in 2023 specifically allocated for “militarism.”

     Five examples from the average tax bill paid:

  1. Pentagon contractors ($1,759) vs. the Child Tax Credit ($110).
  2. Lockheed Martin ($249) vs. renewable energy ($11).
  3. Boeing ($87) vs. the Federal Aviation Administration ($23).
  4. Federal prisons ($32.29) vs. substance use and mental health programs ($31.69).
  5. Foreign militaries ($112) vs. wildfire management ($14).

150 billion - The amount (at least) in taxes evaded by the nation’s billionaires and millionaires (Leona Helmsley disciples) each year, according to the IRS.The US has 737 billionaires with a combined wealth of $5.529 trillion as of March 2024, an 87.6 percent increase of $2.58 trillion from 2020.

2.2 trillion - Increase in wealth in dollars for U.S. billionaires since the Trump-GOP tax cuts (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017) was passed, a significant factor in the national debt rising by around $8 trillion during Trump’s term. Individual tax cuts are set to expire at the end of 2025, unless extended, though some corporate tax cuts will continue.

41 - Number of states where the richest 1% of families have a lower tax rate than everyone else.

64 - Number of corporations that paid an average effective tax rate of just 2.8% (the legal rate is 21%) on $667 billion cumulative domestic profits while paying their executives over $15 billion. Thirty-five of the 64 corporations paid less in federal income taxes between 2018 and 2022 than they paid their top five executives. Their combined federal income tax bills amounted to a negative $1.8 billion -- meaning they received a refund.

28 - Percentage proposed by President Biden in his “budget blueprint” for the corporate tax rate (currently at 21%). Tax justice activists call for higher rates and for ways to prevent corporations from effectively paying only a fraction of the amount.

4098 - Senate bill number of the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act, sponsored by Bernie Sanders, aimed at closing tax loopholes, ending tax breaks for offshoring jobs, and halting profit hiding in tax havens. The Act could generate over $1 trillion alone by reducing the hiding of corporate profits.

7749 – House bill number of the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act of 2024, sponsored by Rep. Pramila Jayapal. The act would impose a 2 cent tax on every dollar of wealth in excess of $50 million and another 1 cent of every dollar more than $1 billion. The Senate version is S.4017, sponsored by Elizabeth Warren

16.4 billion - Total dollar amount spent in the 2020 federal elections by federal candidates, political parties and independent interest groups. Much of this was donated (more like invested) by the super rich and corporate entities to candidates, SuperPACs or “dark money” organizations for political advertising. The massive increase in wealth among the super rich and business corporations over the last 4 years due, in part, to tax cuts will undoubtedly result in a significant increase in 2024. After all, political spending in elections is constitutionally-protected “free speech” and corporations are legally defined as “persons,” leading to a further decline in political voices of people unable to make financial contributions. Increased corporate wealth from tax cuts also means more resources for political lobbying and legal actions to protect, if not expand, corporate constitutional rights.

54 - House bill number of  the We the People Amendment, Move to Amend’s proposal to abolish all corporate constitutional rights and political money defined as free speech.

1 - That’s you, the one person with more power over yourself than anyone else. You have control with limitations over your time, energy and financial priorities.

0 - Percentage likelihood that significant positive change toward tax fairness (i.e. where others besides “the little people pay taxes”), justice in all its forms, legitimate democracy or a livable world will occur without individual action and coming together to create a powerful and authentically democratic movement for democracy. That’s what Move to Amend is seeking to build. Join us. To volunteer, email [email protected].To donate, go to movetoamend.org/donate

In solidarity,

Shelly, George, Daniel, Jennie, Keyan, Michael, Katie, Margaret, Alfonso, Jessica, Jason, Tara, Ambrosia, Cole, & Greg

Move to Amend National Team