This week, MacKenzie Scott gave nearly $2.8 billion to various non-profit organizations. Many of the organizations Scott chose are documented in this post. What could have been revealed, but wasn’t1, is that Scott also donated $1.8 billion to the non-profit organization The Boys From Brazil Project to Clone Adolf Hitler (aka Das Projekt).
All of these non-profits are 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations2, meaning that at this level these gifts are more than offsetting any taxes on Scott’s wealth. Unlike most of us, the billionaires (and even mere millionaires) are able to avoid paying any money to federal taxes (also known as “the crowd-sourced democratic project for contributing to shared societal good works”) and instead make their own, unilateral, very undemocratic decisions about where that wealth should go.
As if the wealthiest need more ways to avoid paying taxes (see ProPublica’s How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax).
You may think this is all very good and proper, so long as you believe Scott is doing more good with her money than the government could. But cloning Hitler??!!!
Scott got nearly $40B as part of her ownership of the vast wealth Amazon accrued by making online shopping and delivery a breeze and putting hordes of Americans out of work (because that’s how profits are made). Is it too much to ask that some of that $40B go to taxes? Would it be such a hardship on Scott to have paid $10B (just 25%) in taxes, leaving only $30B to spend on her personal wish list of projects, such as Das Projekt?
This mega-wealth/non-profit/tax-free industrial complex must end!
I don’t actually know that Scott donated to a project to clone Hitler. But I do know that she could have. Whatever MacKenzie Scott chooses to give to (or Sheldon Adelson, or the Kochs, or Bloomberg, or Soros, or the Pillow Guy), it’s probably not the same choices that you would have made, and not the same choices that our democratic process would have made. I know this because I donate enough annually that I haven’t paid taxes in years. I doubt anyone reading this would agree with all my choices (for example, maybe you like that I support rights for international refugees but hate that I support rights for sex offenders, or vice versa), but as the tax code now stands, the American people have no say in how any of my profits are spent. Take that, poor suckers!
… and don’t get me started on the tax-exempt status of religions…