Let's Tax Hollywood

Time for the celebrity class to start practicing what it preaches.

President Obama and California Governor Jerry Brown are on the same page: the wealthy in America must foot the bill for the massive debts they’ve run up. Sure, the top 1% of income earners pay 37% of all federal income tax. But they’re not paying their fair share! Let Jerry Brown explain, hot on the heels of convincing Californians to raise their own sales and income taxes:

Revenue means taxes, and certainly those who have been blessed the most, who have disproportionately extracted, by whatever skill, more and more from the national wealth, they’re going to have to share more of that.

This, of course, is pure Marxism – the idea that there is a stagnant pool of national wealth, and that the rich plunge into it, shoving others out of their way, to hog all of the wealth for themselves. And Obama feels the same way:

I’m open to new ideas. I’m committed to solving our fiscal challenges. But I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced. I am not going to ask students and seniors and middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me, making over $250,000, aren’t asked to pay a dime more in taxes. I’m not going to do that.

Fine. Fair enough. If we’re going to tax those of high income, though, let’s start with those who provide that least valuable of services: entertainment. Let’s tax actors, singers, and athletes. After all, should their services disappear, our lives might be a little darker – but aren’t teachers more valuable than bit actors in Red Dawn? Furthermore, they were four square behind Obama and Jerry Brown.  Time to put their money where their mouths have been for so long.

With that in mind, let’s embrace the following solution to reach tax fairness: all income earned above $250,000 shall be taxed at 90% provided that it is earned within a five month period. If you work all year long for your $1,000,000, you should be taxed at normal tax rates. But if you put in a month of work to shoot a film, your taxes should rise to 90%; you’re gypping the rest of us. If we can all work 70 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, why aren’t these actors, athletes, and musicians doing their fair share?

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit also has a fantastic idea: reviving the excise tax on movie profits. “The movie excise tax was imposed in response to the high deficits after World War Two. 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.”

Or how about Human Events columnist John Hayward's suggestion – let’s regulate Hollywood wages and fees. “The price controls and fee limits on medicine in the Democrats’ health-care proposals assume doctors will provide the same care and effort if their incomes are controlled, so why wouldn’t actors? They constantly claim to have a high degree of devotion to their art, so wouldn’t they give their best even if we limited them to a handsome upper-middle-class lifestyle?”

Not only that: let’s go ahead and outlaw the buying of individual iPod tracks. It’s unfair that some artists are paid handsomely for their songs, while others aren’t. Let’s bundle them together, so that the best artists subsidize the worst artists. Adele ought to cover Limp Bizkit. Bruce Springsteen ought to cover Kenny G. It’s simply unfair for some artists to prosper while others don’t.

Let’s also place taxes on film equipment. If the federal government can do it with medical equipment, we ought to do it with film equipment, too. The film industry needs that equipment enough to pay a little more for it.

Or how about federal regulation of movie prices? It’s unfair that some people can afford to go to the ArcLight – a really nice theater – while others are stuck at the Regency. Why not mandate that Hollywood subsidize the cost differential? Don’t those greedy one percenters want everybody to be able to enjoy Skyfall equally? Plus, we’ll bring down the deficit, since poorer people will be able to spend money on movies!

We can play the class warfare game too.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.