Bill Maher’s Tax Hypocrisy

Ben Shapiro is a Senior Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. He is the author of the new book "The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration" (Threshold Editions).


Last Friday night, Bill Maher spent time on his HBO show blasting away at liberal tax policy. “You know what?” he asked. “Rich people – I’m sure you’d agree with this – actually do pay the freight in this country.” After noting that California’s wealthy carry the vast bulk of the tax burden in the state, he said, “I just want to say liberals – you could actually lose me. It’s outrageous what we’re paying – over 50 percent. I’m willing to pay my share, but yeah, it’s ridiculous.”

This is a far cry from Maher’s 2010 perspective on taxation. Back then, he said, “I’ve done some math that indicates that, considering the hole this country is in, if you are earning more than a million dollars a year and are complaining about a 3.6% tax increase, then you are by definition a greedy a–hole.”

So why is Maher saying now that he’s sick of taxes, when just a couple years ago, he felt that standing against class warfare made people “greedy a—holes”?

Hollywood is full of hypocritical millionaires who stash their cash in offshore accounts to avoid taxes, buy goods using cash, and take every tax deduction they possibly can. These are the same folks who loudly proclaim the evils of capitalism while partying on Sunset Blvd. with their friends. They order thousand-dollar bottles of wine while complaining about the fate of impoverished youth in the inner city. They own private jets but whine about income inequality.

How can Hollywood liberals live with that cognitive dissonance? The answer lies in feelings. Hollywood liberals feel good when they cast their ballots for higher taxes. They feel bad when they pay those taxes, however. They feel as if they’ve done their duty when they pull the lever for Barack Obama. But they feel as if they’ve been gypped when the studios don’t want to pay union scale.

It’s all about feelings. That’s why Hollywood’s politics are so skewed on the social issues that make high taxes necessary. Folks like Maher are politically incorrect enough to blast away at California’s high tax rates. But they feel nasty and guilty about holding people to certain ethical standards in order to prevent the necessity for high tax rates. You won’t catch Bill Maher blabbing about the problem of unwed motherhood in the inner cities – a problem that necessitates high taxes under the liberal mindset. You won’t catch Maher complaining about Jerry Brown’s lucrative union deals – deals that secure him office and necessitate bond issuances and voluntary tax increases.

But Maher will complain about high taxes in general. For a group of folks who pride themselves on investigating supposed root causes, liberals like Maher seem far less interested in tapping into the root causes of government spending than they are in spending money, then complaining when the bill comes due.

Cause and effect are unpleasant realities. So modern liberals reject causal relationships. When Wendy’s says they will have to cut back workers’ hours due to the costs of Obamacare, the left goes berserk – they don’t like the cutbacks, and they do like Obamacare. So even if Obamacare causes cutbacks, that’s Wendy’s fault. When Papa John’s says that they’ll have to up the price of pizza, the left goes insane. When Five Guys franchise owners say that the price of burgers will likely rise, the left dismisses such statements as politically motivated.

Don’t count on Bill Maher’s newly-found conservatism on taxes to extend to the rest of his worldview. He may bitch about tax rates now. But if he were forced to confront the fact that the rest of his worldview mandates higher taxes, he’d gladly sign the check. Or at least he’d grit his teeth and send his cash to the Caymans.

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  • MetsFan01

    "So why is Maher saying now that he’s sick of taxes, when just a couple years ago, he felt that standing against class warfare made people “greedy a—holes”?"

    Bill Maher has always been fine with going back to Clinton federal income tax rates. He is just angry at CA's excessive state taxes. There is NO hypocrisy here.

    • davarino

      But CA excessive state taxes are a result of his idiocy of free everything for everybody. So you can kiss the Clinton federal income tax rates goodbye. Those rates are a thing of the past.

    • reader

      Bill Maher is a real greedy a-hole. If he wasn't, he would pay "Clinton" rate taxes to the feds voluntarily. And if he did not support Democrat racket he would lose his gig.

    • patron

      Going back to Clinton rates would be a tax increase.

      They had nothing to do with the economy in the mid 90s, which increased because people and businesses were replacing type writers with PCs, and building disposable McMansions funded by Clinton's FHA lowering lending standards. Despite this, Clinton still borrowed against Social Security receipts to fuel spending and opposed welfare reforms initially and only supported them opportunistically after political defeats.

    • HeatFan12

      I was gonna say the same thing, MetsFan01!
      Bill Maher was talking about CA state income tax rates being outrageous.

      • pagegl

        So, Maher doesn't like having to pay for California 's social programs has even though just about every other word out of his mouth indicates he supports those programs. That usually qualifies as hypocrisy.

      • Rifleman

        Maher was complaining about paying "over 50%" but the top rate in CA is 12.3%, so he's obviously talking about his total tax burden.

    • Rifleman

      That's a pretty lame dodge. Where do you think federal rates are going? Right up there with California and Illinois.

      We eliminated a bunch of deductions in exchange for lowering the Clinton rate, and then raised the rates without restoring the deductions. Now we have a higher effective rate, and the dp says they're just getting started raising taxes.

    • Chris

      You are wrong, it is complete hypocrisy or his math skills are even worse than his average iq.

  • BuddyOne

    Maher just needs to get more comfortable with what Obama and Jerry Brown let him keep. It's the high cost of being a televised snark.

  • mike

    Bill Maher is still a first class jerk! He thinks since he makes alot of money and has a vulgar mouth he can get away with anything. Why would anyone pay to watch him?

  • fern coppage

    the hollywood left said everything in their acornlike scripts to get obama elected. now they shed a few crocodile tears when it comes to the possible exposure of their net jet bills, bar tabs and offshore bank accounts. Beyonce and Jayz are the perfect example of the left hypocricy as they frolick yachtside swilling Ciroc cocktails humming the chorus to her new single ", BOW DOWN BITCHES ".regardless of the possible inner meaning of the rap song, the repeated slogan will have its propaganda effect, indoctrinating little girls to the vulgar and sleaze that is leftists hollywoods dream for the masses. cut to beyonce and her man demure in black tie insiders at the white house again, or on an antigun psa.. Bill Maher will continue his leftist designation of ringleader for the info-misinfotainment three ring circus until his own daughter starts bowing down. history teaches us that these kinds of apparatchik are the first to go, so….

  • ltcdmward

    Several months ago I tried to get a premium movie package without HBO because of the infestation known as Bill Maher. I don't want one dime or even a nickel of mine going to support the guy. Unfortunately, my satellite provider had bundled things in such a manner that if I wanted 'X' I had to buy 'Y' (i.e. HBO). So much for free choice. I told the satellite customer service guy the specific reason I did not want HBO and got the usual tome: "Well, just don't watch the guy." I am just getting so tired of many segments of corporate America that are supporting "performers" who's philosophies are destructive of their "employers" (thru taxes and regulations) and undermine their customer base and growth (thru higher taxes and low economic growth and upward mobility). Ben Shapiro is so right. Feelings where they can't relate that 'A' (government) screws 'B' (Employers and Product and Service Providers) and then 'B' has no choice but to "screw" 'C' (customers and employees). To them it's just a B and C equation with no thought that A is screwing everybody.

  • tagalog

    Bill Maher's attitude toward taxes reminds me of the old Monty Python schtick: "Yes! Yes! Yes! Well, maybe! Oh, no! No! No!"

    Is there anybody out there who can turn him into a newt?

    • jakespoon

      "Is there anybody out there who can turn him into a newt?" You are talking about a lizard,I hope.

      • tagalog

        The lower-case "n" is the giveaway. I wouldn't wish Mr. Maher on Mr. Gingrich.

    • trickyblain

      No, but I do know the average airspeed velocity of an unlaiden swallow (both African and European).

      • tagalog

        You must bring me…a shrubbery!

  • BS77

    Bill Maher is an arrogant sarcastic creep…..Can't stand him or most of the horrible TV "celebrities" like Maury Povich, Jerry Springer or that idiot Howard Stern. Garbage…..A pile of steaming garbage.

  • patron

    Surprise surprise. Public get's sick of big government liberalism, the Bill Maher clown show starts turning fiscally conservative.

    Real issue will always be fraud.

  • Drakken

    I am laughing my azz off knowing that the hypocray of the left knows no bounds, especially when it comes to their wallets, let them feel the pain.

    • jakespoon

      He just had an epiphany ,he realized he IS a greedy a-hole. Emphasis on a-hole.

  • http://twitter.com/quark1912 @quark1912

    Vote Democrat to get free stuff from government then vote Republican so taxes may not be raised to pay for them.

  • burkasrugly

    Maybe this idiot Bill Maher thinks he won't have enough money to go to the Playboy mansion as much. Bill Maher is TRASH. I hope he reads this.

  • Ghostwriter

    It looks like Bill Maher knows how the rest of us feel on this subject.

  • depsee

    Hey Bill, have you ever heard the following statements? :

    1. Be careful of what you wish for.
    2. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.
    3. Elections have consequences.