Wealthiest 400 Americans Paid Less In Taxes Than The Poorest For The First Time Ever

Donald Trump has had few success stories in his presidency, but one thing he was lauded for by wealthy and upper middle-class Americans was his new tax code. If you’re wondering why so many rich people support him and turn a blind eye to his heinously racist and homophobic and kill-the-planet policies, it’s because he has been making them all a whole lot of money. Wealth disparity is a huge issue in the U.S., and there is a lot written about how much it has changed in the last five decades.

This tweet from New York Times op-ed columnist David Leonhardt shows just how drastic things really are. For the first time on record, the 400 wealthiest Americans paid less in taxes than anyone else:

Leonhardt wrote a column for the NYT about the change, sharing some alarming data:

“The overall tax rate on the richest 400 households last year was only 23 percent, meaning that their combined tax payments equaled less than one quarter of their total income. This overall rate was 70 percent in 1950 and 47 percent in 1980.”

And there’s an interactive map where you can see the number shifting over time. You’ll feel your heart rate dropping and racing in tune with it:

Federal income taxes have declined slightly for middle-class and poor families, but the huge cut in taxes for the very rich are in the corporate and estate taxes. Ordinary American families are unlikely to benefit from those in the way the extremely wealthy do, and they’re also paying more in payroll taxes, which finance Medicare and Social Security. The rich don’t want to help with protecting the elderly or healthcare. They’re good.

The official stance of most politicians who advocate for tax breaks for the very wealthy is that if they have more money to spend, that means more distribution in the form of jobs and industry. That has proven to be false, but Republicans, especially, keep supporting these tax breaks. Partly because some of them are extremely rich and benefiting from the new codes and partly because their campaigns are financed by the people avoiding taxes.

Lots of people are horrified by this stark data as Leonhardt has laid it out here, and they think it should be at the forefront of the conversation in this upcoming election:

The president seems to be serving only 400 people at the moment, and they have so much money that he’s getting away with it.