In his speech to Congress last Wednesday and his multi-trillion-dollar plan for “human infrastructure” released earlier that day, President Biden proposed yet another tax increase, this one on purportedly “wealthy” individuals and families. In his address Wednesday evening, Biden used the words “fair share” on no fewer than five separate occasions to justify these proposed revenue hikes.
Yet with his own taxes, Joe Biden didn’t pay his “fair share.” Upon leaving the vice presidency in early 2017, he and his wife Jill exploited a tax loophole of questionable legality to dodge hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes—and used the savings to fund lavish real estate holdings.
Biden’s personal conduct raises two obvious questions: How can someone who avoided more than $500,000 in taxes to fund his luxury lifestyle demand that others “pay their fair share”? And how can someone proposing the biggest expansion of government since Franklin Delano Roosevelt claim he supports more federal spending, when he wouldn’t pay for that spending himself?
‘Aggressive’ Tax Dodging
I previously reported on the details of the Bidens’ tax avoidance in the years following Joe Biden’s service as vice president. From 2017 through 2019, Joe and Jill Biden classified a total of $13.5 million in book and speech income as profits from their two corporations, rather than as cash wages.
While the couple paid full income taxes on all their revenue, classifying most of their earnings as corporate profits rather than wages allowed the Bidens to avoid paying $513,540 in payroll taxes on their $13.5 million in declared corporate profits. Tax experts interviewed by the Wall Street Journal in 2019 called the Bidens’ maneuvers “pretty aggressive,” and stated that they existed solely to circumvent paying payroll taxes.
Moreover, the $513,540 in payroll taxes the Bidens avoided were imposed by Medicare and Obamacare, and help fund both of those laws. During his campaign, Joe Biden ran ads claiming that “Obamacare is personal to me”—except, it appears, when it comes to paying the bill.
Luxury Real Estate
At the same time the Bidens were dodging payroll taxes, they spent significant sums expanding their real estate holdings. In 2017, the same year Joe Biden received a reported $8 million book advance, the Bidens paid more than $2.7 million for a beach house at the Delaware shore. At the time, Biden told a local paper the move fulfilled a lifelong dream to own a beach house. But in achieving that dream, Biden dodged paying Obamacare and Medicare taxes on the vast majority of his book advance.
Also in 2017, the Bidens rented a house in suburban Washington from a donor and friend, Mark Ein. While the family did not disclose how much they paid their friend, other than to call it “substantial monthly rent,” the Zillow website estimates the property would rent for about $20,000 per month. To put that sum in perspective, the estimated rent for that property for one month exceeds the average American’s rent for an entire year.
What did that “substantial” rent bring to the Bidens? A rental house with nearly 12,000 square feet of space—almost a third more than the vice-presidential residence the Bidens vacated in 2017. A home that features a grand piano in the living room, contains both a sauna and home gym, and advertises parking for 20-plus cars. The property contains so much “bling” that a local real estate brokerage created a video advertising all its luxury features.
Physician, Heal Thyself
Given his behavior, President Biden’s speech last week sounded a bit rich—not in terms of wealth, but his own hypocrisy. The current president engaged in a series of transactions Democrats often like to ascribe to his immediate predecessor, deliberately dodging more than $500,000 in payroll taxes that fund a law he claims to support, all to finance an extravagant lifestyle worthy of a plutocrat.
Donald Trump should have released his taxes as president, and if he underpaid his tax bills, the appropriate authorities should hold him to account. But at least Trump didn’t go around trying to raise other people’s taxes while dodging taxes himself. Joe Biden, however, does rise to that level of chutzpah.