Billions in Taxpayer Money Given to Millionaires

A new report from a Republican lawmaker details how, under the current Tax Code, the federal government is giving away billions of dollars to millionaires, subsidizing their lifestyles with taxes paid by the less well-to-do.

The report, entitled “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous,” was released by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a deficit hawk who has campaigned to end a variety of tax subsidies, particularly for ethanol. In the new report, Coburn points to a variety of government subsidies and tax credits that go toward people with adjusted gross incomes of $1 million and up, including $9 billion worth of retirement checks, $316 million in farm subsidies, $89 million for preservation of ranches and estates, $75.6 million in residential energy tax credits, $74 million worth of unemployment benefits, and $7.5 million to compensate for damages caused by emergencies to property that should have been insured.

In addition, according to the report, millionaires claimed $27.7 billion in mortgage interest deductions, $64.3 billion in rental expenses deductions, $21 billion in deductions for gambling losses, $607.7 million in business entertainment expenses deductions, and $128 million in canceled debt deductions.

All and all, over $9.5 billion in government benefits have been paid to millionaires since 2003, according to Coburn’s office. In addition, millionaires borrowed $16 million in government-backed education loans to attend college. On average, each year, his report found that millionaires enjoy benefits from tax giveaways and federal grant programs totaling $30 billion. As a result, almost 1,500 millionaires paid no federal income tax in 2009.

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