(FiveNation.com)- Last Wednesday, ProPublica reported that very wealthy Americans were among those who received a COVID relief check as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in the spring of 2020.
Using its trove of IRS records, ProPublica was able to identify hundreds of extremely wealthy Americans, including at least 18 billionaires who were mailed the COVID stimulus payments last year.
Congress set it up using a simple filter to determine who would be eligible to receive the COVID relief checks. Individuals who reported a taxable income of $75,000 a year or less on their previous tax return would qualify for the $1,200 check. Married couples with a combined income of less than $150,000 would qualify for $2,400.
What Congress failed to consider is how many wealthy Americans use deductions and write-offs to get their taxable income as low as possible. ProPublica explains that in many cases, these wealthy Americans were able to use write-offs so successfully they end up with no taxable income at all.
As a result of this glaring oversight by Congress, the IRS mailed stimulus checks to some of the last people you’d expect.
George Soros, whose net worth is over $8.6 billion, got a relief check in the mail. So did his son Robert who is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Now, to be fair to George and his son, both of them returned the checks – which might be the first act of philanthropy George Soros committed that was actually for the common good.
Then there’s Ira Rennert. According to Forbes, Rennert is worth $3.7 billion. He lives in a 62,000 square foot home in the Hamptons that is one of the largest private homes in the country. Rennert earned $64 million in 2018. But because he had $355 million in deductions, his total taxable earnings was a negative $291 million. Thanks to the way the dopes in Congress set this up, Ira and his wife got a $2,400 check courtesy of the US taxpayers. ProPublica was unable to find out if Rennert kept his check or if he, like Soros, sent it back.
Billionaire real estate developer, oil mogul, and movie producer Timothy Headington is worth $1.4 billion. He earned $62 million in 2018. But thanks to his $342 million in write-offs, Headington’s total taxable income was negative $280 million. So he got a stimulus check too.
In total, ProPublica found 270 people who are either millionaires or billionaires who got a COVID check.
This is the problem Congress didn’t take into account. Unlike regular Americans whose income is largely from wages, for the 270 super-rich who got a stimulus check, wages rarely make up a significant portion of their income.
Of all the income from these 270 people, ProPublica found that only 1.4 percent ($82 million) of the $5.7 billion in cumulative income came from wages.