Trevor Noah recapped a bombshell report from ProPublica on Wednesday evening, which revealed just how little the wealthiest Americans have paid in income taxes. The private tax records, which ProPublica published because “disclosing the identities of billionaires who paid little to no taxes in years their fortunes grew by billions of dollars will help readers understand the magnitude of the tax advantages the ultrarich enjoy”, indicate the Tesla founder Elon Musk, for example, paid zero in federal income taxes in 2018. So did Jeff Bezos in 2007 and 2011, the same year he claimed a $4,000 child tax credit.
All of this was keeping within the legal tax code. “Imagine being so rich, that you can afford accountants who make you look poor,” the Daily Show host said. “Think about it: Jeff Bezos is so good at hiding his wealth that he qualified for a child tax credit. This dude built his own rocket to take him to space, and the US government is like, ‘hey brother, here’s something for the kid until you can get back on your feet’.”
“This is something that everyone already suspected but it’s still shocking to see the proof right in front of you,” Noah said.
“Much like wearing cargo shorts to the Pride parade, these tax loopholes are both messed up and completely legal,” he added. “So if you want to change the system, then you need to take action, and write to your congressperson. Then, your congressperson can hold your letter in one hand, and the campaign check from the billionaire in the other hand, and decide which one they want to wipe their ass with.”
On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert discussed criticism levied at Kamala Harris, who just returned from a trip to Central America after Biden tasked her with handling and overflow of migrants at the southern border. (Colbert imagined Biden’s task delegation: “Alright kiddo, let’s divvy up these international trips. I’m gonna go eat, pray, love across the old country, how about you head south of the border, try to solve a problem that no president of either party’s been able to handle for decades.”)
The “rockiest” moment of the trip, according to Colbert, was when Harris bluntly told Guatemalan migrants “do not come”, drawing ire from both progressives and Republicans. “So…bipartisanship!” Colbert joked.
Republicans had previously attacked Harris for not visiting to get a “first-hand look” at the border. “Yeah, Republicans know that’s how you solve any problem – you go there for a photo-op,” Colbert deadpanned. “It’s like the kids say: pics, or you didn’t fix.”
In Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel anticipated Joe Biden’s trip to Europe to visit with the leaders of several prominent allies. The president is “hoping to repair some of the damage Trump did to our relationships with our allies”, Kimmel explained. “And it’s exciting for America.”
“It’s like introducing our new fiancee to all our friends,” he continued. “You know, we haven’t been as close over the last few years because our ex was a loud, lying cheater who never picked up the check. But now we’ve got a new guy – he’s a little boring, he’s not exactly George Clooney but he treats us well and he doesn’t throw Starburst fruit chews at the other world leaders, so it should be nice.”
The trip got off to a rocky start, however, when a swarm of cicadas delayed the White House press plane by seven hours. “If this was a movie, the government would have to go to a cabin in the woods to convince Sully Sullenberger to do one last job,” Kimmel quipped.
And on Late Night, Seth Meyers took a closer look at the federal criminal investigation into Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as audio from a much-scrutinized, damning phone call with Ukrainian leaders was obtained by CNN.
Weeks earlier, federal agents raided the former mayor of New York’s home and office for evidence. “I just can’t imagine the feds raiding Rudy Giuliani’s home and office and finding nothing incriminating,” Meyers said. “I mean forget Ukraine and quid pro quos, he’s probably got a fridge full of whitefish he stole from Zabar’s or a sink full of unpaid parking tickets he tried to stuff into the garbage disposal only to remember he doesn’t have one.”
As for the phone call, which helped launch the first impeachment of Donald Trump in early 2019, “it was clear that what they were doing was shady and that they knew it was shady”, said Meyers, “because they all talk in that vague, Mafia-esque where they never actually demand something explicitly but they make it very clear that what they’re asking for a is quid pro quo.
“This whole thing is yet another reminder of the central thrust of Republican politics right now: cheating in elections to win,” Meyers concluded. “It turns out the biggest criminals are in the so-called party of Law and Order.”