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Cue the Gladiators!

This map has been making the rounds, showing the highest paid public employee in each state. And in 80% of the states, that employee, who is often pulling down multiple million dollars a year, is a football or basketball coach at a public university.

Now here’s the kicker. Just who is paying for the salaries of these coaches? If you’re reading this, it is probably you. It sure as heck isn’t the ultra-wealthy in this country.

Pro-Publica has obtained a trove of IRS data about the taxes paid by the richest people, who are able to severely reduce the taxes they pay using tax dodges that are available to virtually all of us. For example, the 25 most affluent paid an average 3.4% of their income in taxes. In many years, they paid nothing at all. How much did you pay?

Here’s a table showing the numbers for four of the most moneyed people:

Ironically, Warren Buffet’s true tax rate is only 0.1% of his income, even though he is a proponent of raising taxes on the rich. Compare that to what middle-class wage earners pay:

It’s a completely different picture for middle-class Americans, for example, wage earners in their early 40s who have amassed a typical amount of wealth for people their age. From 2014 to 2018, such households saw their net worth expand by about $65,000 after taxes on average, mostly due to the rise in value of their homes. But because the vast bulk of their earnings were salaries, their tax bills were almost as much, nearly $62,000, over that five-year period.

© Joel Pett


  1. Andy wrote:

    True for public employees working for departments that generate millions of dollars of revenue each year. Here is the amount of yearly revenue some of these sports teams generate. Tax payers are hardly footing the bill for these coaches.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 2:02 pm | Permalink
  2. Dan wrote:

    the U of Iowa has college professors that make more then highest earners in some states. Nebraska’s losing football coach, until he took a pay cut, made $500k more then Iowa’s winning coach of over 20 yrs.

    Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 6:56 am | Permalink

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