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Let the Real Fat Cats Pay Their Fair Share ^ | December 13, 2012 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 12/13/2012 4:35:59 AM PST by Kaslin

Who exactly were the rich who, as the president said, were not "paying their fair share"? The rapper Jay-Z (net worth: nearly $500 million)? The actor Johnny Depp (2011 income: $50 million)? Neither seems to have heard the president's earlier warning that, "at a certain point you've made enough money."

Could both zillionaires simply have quit making money at $10 million -- and thereby given their poorer audiences a break on ticket prices?

With all the talk of raising taxes on the supposedly conservative wannabes who make $250,000 per year, why not additionally levy a $3 surcharge on discretionary tickets for movies, concerts and sporting events to "spread the wealth" from multimillionaires? That way, LeBron James (approximate annual earnings: $53 million) or Oliver Stone (net worth: approximately

$50 million) might at last begin to "level the playing field."

Is Michael Moore (net worth: approximately $50 million) a one-tenth-of-one-percenter? If so, why do mansion-living grandee movie directors like Moore and Stone need state subsidies and tax breaks to produce their films, when most states are nearly as insolvent as the federal government?

Warren Buffett likewise did not heed the president's advice that after

2008 it was not the time to profit. Did he pay any attention to Obama's additional warning that, "If you own a business, you didn't build that"?

Apparently not.

Otherwise, Buffett would not think that his own expertise and hard work had built Berkshire Hathaway, or that he has the right to leave his $50 billion fortune to nonprofit institutions of his choice -- thereby shorting the Internal Revenue Service billions of dollars in lost estate taxes. With a trillion-dollar-plus annual federal deficit, either the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Department of Health and Human Services surely could use Buffett's loot far more than the already well-endowed Gates Foundation.

If the country is going to turn redistributionist, then we might as well do so whole-hog -- given that the eight of the wealthiest 10 counties in America voted for Obama. Why not limit mortgage interest deductions to just one loan under $100,000 -- while ending tax breaks altogether for second and third vacation houses?

Under the present system, the beleaguered 99 percent are subsidizing the abodes of Hollywood and Silicon Valley "millionaires and billionaires" -- many of whom themselves have been railing against the one percent. Should the government provide tens of thousands of dollars in tax breaks for a blue-state one-percenter to live in tony Palo Alto or Newport Beach when there are plenty of fine homes far cheaper and sitting empty not far away in Stockton and Bakersfield?

Blue states usually have far higher state income taxes that are used as deductions to reduce what is owed on federal income tax. Why should working folks in Nevada or Texas have to pay their fair share, while Wall Streeters get huge federal write-offs from their New York or Connecticut state income taxes?

With the new obsessions over income and net worth, we might as well also means-test all federal programs. Should anyone -- do we remember Solyndra?

-- be eligible for federal cash loans if he makes over $250,000 per year?

Why would affirmative action apply to millionaires like the offspring of Eric Holder, Susan Rice or, for that matter, Barack Obama, while excluding the destitute children of Appalachian coal miners and the poor clingers of Pennsylvania?

Remember the revolving door that Barack Obama once promised to end? The former head of his Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, used his title and insider contacts to walk right into a Citigroup fat-cat banker's job that pays him an estimated $2 million to $3 million a year.

Clinton administration apparatchiks like Jamie Gorelick, James Johnson and Franklin Raines -- without much of any banking experience -- reaped millions of dollars working at Fannie Mae as it went nearly bankrupt. If you leave government and immediately make more than $1 million, why not pay a 50 percent surcharge on your income for five years -- given that "somebody else made that happen"? Why does Google have tax havens in the Caribbean, and why do six-figure-income college presidents have their taxes paid by their universities?

For much of 2012, Obama waged a veritable class war against conservatives, as if they were all right-wing clones of Donald Trump and the Koch brothers. But modern Democrats -- Nancy Pelosi, George Soros, Steven Spielberg, Brian Williams or Oprah Winfrey -- are as likely to be very wealthy as are Republicans, who increasingly better represent small-business owners desperately struggling to become affluent.

Next time around, Republicans might remind us of that paradox by nominating a small-business scrapper, who -- unlike millionaires such as Al Gore, John Kerry or Barack Obama -- did not go to prep school and the Ivy League. And they might find better ways for those in academia, entertainment, sports, big law and the media to pay their fair share.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: celebrities; fairshare; taxrelief; vdh; warrenbuffett

1 posted on 12/13/2012 4:36:04 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

A few god ideas like nixing mortgage interest over some modest amount (should really get rid of that deduction and others altogether). But the rest reads like a selective class warfare screed, and not convincing.

2 posted on 12/13/2012 4:39:29 AM PST by palmer (Jim, please bill me 50 cents for this completely useless post)
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To: Kaslin

awesome piece.

3 posted on 12/13/2012 4:43:14 AM PST by Homer1
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To: Kaslin

As I understand it, the goal is to raise the tax rate. For Warren Buffet who is said to draw a salary of $125 K the tax paid and revenue earned is paltry in the overall.

The thugs demonstrating in Michigan demand equality of earnings while demonstrating gross inequality in ability. The quest for equality is won by words. It will never be reality achieved by action. Laziness does not create earnings.

4 posted on 12/13/2012 4:45:21 AM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 .....The fairest Deduction to be reduced is the Standard Deduction)
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To: Kaslin

That’s right.

Rock stars, ‘actors’, sports people all ought to be taxed to the point of castration.

The only thing they can think of to do with their money is to buy drugs, anyway!

Very few of them actually support organizations for the ‘disadvantaged’ and ‘udnerserved’.

Before Tiger Woods came along and trashed the golf scene, I used to say that golfers were the most generous and clean living of all the sports stars. They always were in the news giving huge checks to research organizations and to programs for kids... etc.

Now, all the sports types are crud... when will they get over themselves and do something good for sick kids or others at the bottom of the heap, who will never in their lives see the kind of income athletes get?

5 posted on 12/13/2012 4:47:46 AM PST by SMARTY ("The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings. "Henri Frederic Amiel)
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To: Kaslin

I am fundamentally opposed to all income taxes. They can and are manipulated by politicians to help their friends and punish their enemies. As my old 7th grade history teacher said, “The only FAIR tax is a sales tax.”
The only tax that every one pays the same amount.

6 posted on 12/13/2012 4:49:53 AM PST by Tupelo (Hunkered down & loading up)
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To: SMARTY; Kaslin
taxing big blue

Start by taxing the ever-loving crap out of Hollywood. I’ve suggested this before, and the esteemed Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, was on the same wavelength last August when he suggested bringing back the 20 percent excise tax on motion picture gross revenue from the 1950s.

“The movie excise tax was imposed in response to the high deficits after World War Two,” Reynolds recalled. ”Deficits are high again, and there’s already historical precedent. Of course, to keep up with technology, the tax should now apply to DVDs, downloadable movies, pay-per-view and the like. But in these financially perilous times, why should movie stars and studio moguls, with their yachts, swimming pools and private jets, not at least shoulder the burden they carried back in Harry Truman’s day – when, to be honest, movies were better anyway.”

As Reynolds noted, one side effect of such proposals is that it causes far-Left Hollywood types to suddenly begin babbling about the depressing effects of high tax rates upon economic growth, as though they had been suddenly possessed by the ghost of Milton Friedman. That’s fun even if the tax proposals end up getting defeated. Especially now that we have YouTube to disseminate and immortalize their panicked bursts of “trickle-down economic” wisdom.

7 posted on 12/13/2012 4:55:16 AM PST by Behind Liberal Lines
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To: Kaslin

Y’know, part of me has toyed with a very similar idea. Not as a sound fiscal policy, but in a “oh, we can play that game too, libbies” sense. I’d love to see celebrity types squirm at the idea of a nice little surcharge on the entertainment industry - Hollywood, Big Music, television, etc. I’d feel kind of bad for theater owners and the like who would take a hit along with the Spielbergs and Geffens, but hey, we could just say we were doing it for the children, or something. >:)

8 posted on 12/13/2012 4:56:10 AM PST by DemforBush (You might very well think that. I could not *possibly* comment.)
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To: Behind Liberal Lines
I agree with you.

Also, no matter how dire the economy is, people for some reason STILL get themselves and their kids into a movie theater, REGULARLY!

I am always suprised at people who routinely go to the movies and wouldn’t miss a new movie for anything... no matter how much it costs.

Movies are NOT necessities of life like home heating, food, gas for the car, medicine, etc. ... yet no matter what the cost, people STILL go to the movies!

I work with people struggling with ever greater expenses, taking care of kids, static income levels, etc... and these people whine all the time about the increased cost of living. BUT, they still take their kids to Disneyland, go to the movies, go out to eat.... they have NOT modified their life style one iota!

I suspect much of this is done on the credit cards. What a hole they dig for themselves. They think they are entitled to live like this so they have NO business complaining.

When I was young, if I or my brother whined about going to Disneyland, taking a vacation, going to the movies... etc., we’d find ourselves handed a rake or a bucket ... “Your father isn’t working for vacations and movies! If you have time like that to spare, make yourself useful. !”

9 posted on 12/13/2012 5:12:23 AM PST by SMARTY ("The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings. "Henri Frederic Amiel)
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To: Tupelo

The only FAIR tax would be to take the Federal Budget and divide it by the number of people living in America.

That would be Fair.

Everything else is just a compromise with reality.

10 posted on 12/13/2012 5:13:15 AM PST by Empire_of_Liberty
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To: palmer

It is the argument of the Left, Obama’s “argument”, reversed. As such, it is satire. It is no more convincing than Obama’s ridiculous vocalizations.

Oh, and capping mortgage interest deductions is a stupid idea. There are good reasons for the deduction, since what you are paying in interest is being immediately taxed as income to the lender. It is not a “gift” to home buyers, as much as it is a recognition that taxing income is, in the first place, a stupid idea.

11 posted on 12/13/2012 5:23:21 AM PST by Empire_of_Liberty
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To: Kaslin

Are you trying to say Democrats are hypocrites?

12 posted on 12/13/2012 5:24:06 AM PST by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: Kaslin

How did the “court jester” rise to the most lucrative career in the kingdom?

13 posted on 12/13/2012 5:35:49 AM PST by G Larry (Which of Obama's policies do you think I'd support if he were white?)
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To: Kaslin

Raising any revenue is just like giving some money to a heroin junkie. It doesn’t matter whether you give them $20 or $200, they are going to spend it on heroin. If you give them too much money, they will OD. Government has more than enough money. We need to cut spending period.

14 posted on 12/13/2012 5:36:15 AM PST by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: Empire_of_Liberty

Then we need to lower (or eliminate) the income tax. Mortgage interest deductions (which I partake of) are basically a housing boom and bust creator.

15 posted on 12/13/2012 5:40:04 AM PST by palmer (Jim, please bill me 50 cents for this completely useless post)
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To: Kaslin

I’d support allowing the IRS to seize all but $500K of Bella Pelosi’s *and* Dirty Harry’s *household* net worth and allowing the IRS to seize all but $75K of their annual,*household* income from now on.I’d also support a law requiring them to be *fully* enrolled in,and regulated by,OsamaObamaCare if it comes into force.I’d love to see my name right above (or below) that of either of them on a waiting list for a heart operation or to see a cancer specialist.

16 posted on 12/13/2012 6:06:57 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (Benghazi: What Did Baraq Know And When Did He Know It?)
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To: bert
For Warren Buffet who is said to draw a salary of $125 K the tax paid and revenue earned is paltry in the overall.

I'd love to see the proposal I made in Post #16 applied to Buffet,Soros,Gates,Michael Moore and many,*many* others.Oh,and Osama Obama as well....of course.

17 posted on 12/13/2012 6:11:15 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (Benghazi: What Did Baraq Know And When Did He Know It?)
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To: Kaslin

Until recently Johnny Depp lived in France, where I’m sure he was paying way, way more than his “fair share”.

18 posted on 12/13/2012 6:41:11 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Kaslin
Warren Buffet don't mind tax increases because their money is hidden in Charitable Trusts that they control, live off of, are not taxed and last essentially forever. And are not included in death taxes. It is time for a law stating all charitable trusts are to be totally given to a charity during the lifetime of the founder of the trust.
19 posted on 12/13/2012 6:57:00 AM PST by The Old Commander (Anyone who voted for Obama did so to steal from the productive class.)
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To: palmer

I do think that the mortgage interest deduction factors into the price of housing, allowing it to be higher than it otherwise would be. But since it has been constant throughout the housing boom and bust, I don’t think it factored into that cycle. Changes in lending and Federal Housing regulations are respinsible for that particular fiasco.

I do think the income tax should be done away with. Everyone loves to complain about the gigantic and cumbersome Federal Tax Code. Of course it crude, cumbersome and unfair. It’s a shining example of what you always get when you take a retarded, liberal ideal like the XVI’th Amendment and try to make it work.

Liberals ALWAYS double-down on failure. Since, by definition, they cannot learn from their mistakes of the past, they are forever tweaking, until they produce something like the Federal Tax Code.

Notice how this giant screw-up is in no way informing the Liberals as they set about doing exactly the same thing to Healthcare.

20 posted on 12/13/2012 7:01:50 AM PST by Empire_of_Liberty
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