Nick Shaxson ■ Quote of the day – on Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘charitable donation’


For those who don’t know, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg this week pledged, on the birth of his daughter, to donate 99 percent of his billion-worth of Facebook stock to good causes. Which has generated adulation and love, from around the world: just look at the Great and the Good lining up to applaud him on his Facebook page.

Our quote of the day comes from one absolute must-read article about Zuckerberg’s move:

“He amassed one of the greatest fortunes in the world — and is likely never to pay any taxes on it.”

In other words, one especially privileged person, in place of a democratic society, will get to decide how to spend all these economic rents this money. And let’s never forget Facebook’s well known tax shenanigans.

Now read the rest of the short, excellent article.

Citizens for Tax Justice in the U.S. add:

“Facebook has used an executive stock-option tax break to lower its taxes by $4 billion dollars over the past five years, allowing the company to pay a federal income tax rate of only about 8 percent during that time. Put another way, the company has been able to shelter almost eighty percent of its profits from tax during this period using just this one tax loophole. And Facebook has also been an unabashed user of a complex foreign tax dodge known as the “double Irish.”

These aggressive tax-avoidance maneuvers impose a real cost: every dollar of income tax that Facebook doesn’t pay is, ultimately, a dollar that must be made up by the rest of us, either through higher taxes on middle-income families or draconian cuts in infrastructure spending.”

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Comments • 5

  • rob
    December 5, 2015 - 10:31 pm

    I dont mind big corporations getting nice tax breaks as long as they generate an economic activity by employing loads of people. The mulitplier effect is substantial for the economy in tax terms. I think you should focus more on the corruption of politicians which in turn leads to us law-abiding citizens to pay more taxes because of abuse of government funds.

    • Nick Shaxson
      December 6, 2015 - 10:14 am

      So the corporations need subsidies to generate employment, do they? Where do these subsidies come to an end? They benefit from roads, courts, educated workforces and so on – they should pay their share of the costs. Why would economic free-riding via ‘tax breaks’ be economically efficient? You’ll see that if you try to answer any of these questions, you’ll descend pretty quickly into incoherence.

    • Ben Lawson
      December 11, 2015 - 5:44 pm

      The multiplier effect is a myth. So is trickle down theory. If small numbers of people who control/work/manage corporations amass huge amounts of wealth it shifts the debt burden to those with the lowest incomes. The whole point is they DON’T employ a whole load of people. Especially internet based, rentier seeking companies like google and facebook.

    • Garry
      December 12, 2015 - 5:45 am

      In a democracy it is the citizens who decide where money should be spent. When wealthy people decide how much tax they will pay and where money is to be spent, we have aristocracy!

  • Jeff M
    December 21, 2015 - 10:40 am

    Have you even considered how much in taxes we will not have to spend on government largess?

    The last sentence says it all. If the unions can’t have it then they are no good.

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