Why the change of heart?
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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