Photo: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), one of Congress’ biggest deficit hawks, released a report on Monday showing that the federal government has paid over $9.5 billion in benefits to millionaires since 2003.The memo is titled “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous” and addressed to taxpayers, and states that millionaires (those with an adjusted gross income greater than $1 million per year) receive benefits worth more than $30 billion from the government each year including tax giveaways and federal grant programs. And almost 1,500 millionaires paid no income tax to the federal government in 2009.
From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Multimillionaires are even receiving government checks for not working. This welfare for the well-off – costing billions of dollars a year – is being paid for with the taxes of the less fortunate, many who are working two jobs just to make ends meet, and IOUs to be paid off by future generations.
The populist tenor could hardly be topped by an Occupy Wall Street protester — and this is coming from one of Congress’ most conservative members.
Millionaires were overpaid by $49.4 million in farm payments — many of whom do not live anywhere near farmland:
What do Scottie Pippen, Ted Turner, Jon Bon Jovi, and Bruce Springsteen have in common? They get farm subsidies and tax breaks:
From the report:
A review of the tax returns filed by these 2,702 individuals found 78 per cent listed a metropolitan area as their primary address, nowhere near land suitable for farming. Further, GAO identified several individuals receiving payments whose professions had nothing to do with farming or agricultural:
- A founder and former executive of an insurance company improperly received more than $300,000 in farm program payments in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006; and
- A part-owner of a professional sports franchise received total of more than $200,000 in farm program payments in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. In fact, the single biggest recipient of farm subsidies is a multi-millionaire that does own some farm land, but spends the majority of his time developing land by building homes and offices.
Other millionaires that have collected farm subsidies are a NBA star and a billionaire media titan.
These individuals include Scottie Pippen and Ted Turner, respectively. Millionaires also receive state tax breaks on farm land. For example, Jon Bon Jovi paid property taxes of only $100 last year on his extensive real estate holdings in New Jersey that he uses to raise bees. At the same time, Bruce Springsteen received farm subsidies because he leases his property to an organic farmer.
Really want that Tesla Roadster? The federal government will give you a tax break — you can even use it for a golf cart:
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