Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Why Rich Celebrities Love Democrats

 

Last week, my wife told me that Michael Stipe, the lead singer for one of the favorite bands of my youth, had opened a rally for Senator Bernie Sanders. I knew the guy was an insufferable lefty, but it still got me thinking about why rich celebrities love to support socialists, seemingly against their own interest.

And then I realized — like a snail coming late to a conclusion that everyone else has long since reached — that it actually is in their best interests to support these policies because “income redistribution” — as opposed to “property redistribution” — doesn’t impact the already-wealthy all that much. Rather, income redistribution is a tax against other people becoming wealthy.

Sanders is not proposing that the rich pay their fair share: he’s proposing that people becoming rich cough-up the money they’re busy earning. Those like Stipe have already made their fortunes. Sure, Sanders’s high taxes will have some impact on his further income, but Sanders isn’t proposing to confiscate Stipe’s existing wealth; it’s the next musician — the one who isn’t already filthy rich — who will be paying 80% of his income, thus preventing him from ever reaching the lofty status of those like Michael Stipe.

I’d actually like to hear Sanders start talking about taking away redistributing wealth that has already been accumulated. Nobody needs to make more than $150,000 a year, right? Then why should anyone have more than that in liquid assets?

Let’s see how excited these people remain.

There are 58 comments.

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  1. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator

    I think there’s also an element of insecurity in the entertainment set. With extremely few exceptions, the most rich and famous celebrities aren’t the people who are the best at their jobs — they’re the folks who were in the right place at the right time, with the right agents and right charisma and the right sound/movie at the right cultural moment. I think they extrapolate that experience onto all the other rich folks. They feel they didn’t really *earn* their wealth; therefore, no one has. In which case, no real harm sharing some of it with the people who weren’t so lucky.

    • #1
    • April 12, 2016, at 7:49 AM PDT
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  2. BrentB67 Inactive

    Ryan, you will also find that extremely wealthy people, and I guess Mr. Stipe given REM’s success (big fan also) is extremely wealthy, do not pay anywhere near the published tax rates.

    If someone is extremely wealthy they generally have access to sophisticated legal (hint: you are in the wrong branch of the industry), accounting, and other advisory help.

    Of course the advisors favor the high rates and byzantine codes to support their existence.

    • #2
    • April 12, 2016, at 8:02 AM PDT
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  3. Larry3435 Member

    A good thought, Ryan, but some of us remember the Beatles fleeing Great Britain and it’s 90+% tax rates.

    Let me tell you how it will be
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me
    Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

    Should five per cent appear too small
    Be thankful I don’t take it all
    Cos I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman

    If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
    If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
    If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat
    If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet

    • #3
    • April 12, 2016, at 8:02 AM PDT
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  4. Mate De Inactive

    Many are hypocrites anyway and will exploit every tax credit and loophole they can. They want to redistribute other people’s money, not their own.

    Also, artists and intellectuals believe they are entitled to their wealth because of their cultural contribution and such. Many of those folks hate it when those with a trade or service because rich through hard work, investment and grit. It’s a class thing, I think Thomas Sowell explained this in his book Intellectuals and Socieity.

    • #4
    • April 12, 2016, at 8:03 AM PDT
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  5. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    Amy Schley:I think there’s also an element of insecurity in the entertainment set. With extremely few exceptions, the most rich and famous celebrities aren’t the people who are the best at their jobs — they’re the folks who were in the right place at the right time, with the right agents and right charisma and the right sound/movie at the right cultural moment. I think they extrapolate that experience onto all the other rich folks. They feel they didn’t really *earn* their wealth; therefore, no one has. In which case, no real harm sharing some of it with the people who weren’t so lucky.

    BINGO!

    Deep down, they know they play with dolls for a living! It’s also why actors and pop stars are unionized: In guilt-assuaging, faux-solidarity with their “brothers” who actually do work for for a living.

    • #5
    • April 12, 2016, at 9:26 AM PDT
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  6. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Bingo!

    It’s why Hillary, a very greedy person, advocates for higher income taxes – she’s got her stash protected.

    It’s why every time Warren Buffet complains that his secretary pays a higher income tax rate than he does, he walks away snickering about all the chumps who believe that line when he could change it in a minute by taking more of his compensation in salary than in capital gains.

    It’s why wealthy conservatives are morally superior to wealthy liberals. Wealthy conservatives say “I’ve got mine, I don’t care what you do with yours, now get off my lawn and leave me alone“, while wealthy liberals say “I’ve got mine, now I want some of yours to spend so I can feel better about myself“.

    • #6
    • April 12, 2016, at 9:34 AM PDT
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  7. I Walton Member

    Mostly the super wealthy do not enjoy their change in wealth from income which is taxed but from unearned capital gains, real estate etc. which are not taxed. Celebrities in contrast tend to be ignorant but know where good press comes from and good press is important. There is another batch of very wealthy that run big corporations where they get to control charitable donations, can deduct their salaries, bonuses, from earnings so the net is still nice and stockholders don’t complain, and they enjoy change in option and stock values which they can manipulate but these are gains, not income. Their positions give them influence on K street and K street is important only because the government is powerful intrusive and can make and break companies. Big government liberal policies are the guild rules for the super wealthy. That we have to point these things out shows how effective liberals have been in selling their symbiotic relationships with the wealthiest 1 hundredth of a percent.

    • #7
    • April 12, 2016, at 9:41 AM PDT
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  8. Solon Inactive

    Why should celebrities, musicians, and athletes be so rich? That’s not fair, to use Bernie’s language.

    • #8
    • April 12, 2016, at 10:09 AM PDT
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  9. Severely Ltd. Inactive

    Amy Schley:I think there’s also an element of insecurity…

    they’re the folks who were in the right place at the right time…

    They feel they didn’t really *earn* their wealth; therefore, no one has. In which case, no real harm sharing some of it …

    I agree with most of this, but I think that insecurity exists even when it’s deserved. As much as I dislike Sean Penn, I think he’s a good, possibly great, actor, but I also imagine that the path to success hasn’t been as difficult for him as, say, Ben Carson’s. Penn has a gift and though I’m not going to his films, I don’t begrudge him turning that gift into millions. The same with athletes, musicians, and all the other professions that receive outsized pay checks today. Knock yourself out, Sean, and thank your lucky stars you’re not in the acting company at The Globe back in the day.

    When something lucrative comes easy to you, I’ll bet it’s easy to under-value it. We all feel that pay should be linked to effort, and when you get 20 million for two months work, no matter how harrowing those two months are, it has to strike the best actors as wonky. Did I really earn that? (as you said, Amy) Should I be kicking back a bit to the ditch-diggers?

    Yes! You should. In the form of charity, though, not taxes.

    • #9
    • April 12, 2016, at 10:47 AM PDT
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  10. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    Solon:Why should celebrities, musicians, and athletes be so rich? That’s not fair, to use Bernie’s language.

    Certainly. And, as I said, their advocated taxes really don’t tax the already rich, but the about to be rich… or, more likely, the middle class.

    So, let’s take Bernie at his word, let’s take Warren Buffet at his word, let’s take all these rich celebrities at their word and advocate lower taxes for the middle class, and a flat confiscation of wealth over, say, one million dollars in real property or other assets. That 2nd mansion, gone. That beach house, gone. That yacht, gone. Nobody needs all that stuff, anyway.

    It’s not that we should get the 1% to pay for all this stuff in taxes, which they would avoid anyway; let’s get them to pay for it with the assets they already have. Then, they can re-join the middle class and enjoy lower taxes just like the rest of us.

    • #10
    • April 12, 2016, at 10:51 AM PDT
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  11. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The

    Severely Ltd.:Yes! You should. In the form of charity, though, not taxes.

    But that’s exactly my point. Once you’ve got money, taxes could raise to 99% and it doesn’t matter to you, because you’ve already got a stache (right under your nose, no doubt). Why don’t we simply redistribute existing wealth rather than tax those who are earning their wealth for the first time? We like to be revolutionary and rant about the “upper class” aristocrats. Fine, let’s go after them, then.

    • #11
    • April 12, 2016, at 10:53 AM PDT
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  12. Profile Photo Member

    RyanM:A few days ago, my wife told me that Michael Stipe, the lead singer for one of the favorite bands of my youth, had opened up a rally for Bernie Sanders. I knew the guy was an insufferable lefty, but it still got me thinking about why it is that rich celebrities love to support these guys, seemingly against their own interest.

    And then I realized (like a snail coming to a conclusion that everyone has long since filed away) that it is still in thier best interests to support these sorts of policies, because “income redistribution,” as (importantly) opposed to “property redistribution,” doesn’t do all that much to impact the already wealthy. Rather, it creates a barrier of entry into our wealthy aristocracy.

    In other words, income redistribution is a tax against other people becoming wealthy. Bernie Sanders is not proposing that the rich pay their fair share, he’s proposing that nobody be allowed to become rich. People like Michael Stipe have already made their fortunes. Sure, Sanders’ high taxes will have some impact on his further income, but Sanders isn’t proposing to confiscate wealth. So it’s the next musician who isn’t already filthy rich who will be paying 80% of his income, thus preventing him from ever reaching the lofty status of Michael Stipe, et. al.

    I’d kind of like to hear Sanders start talking about actual redistribution. I mean, taking away the wealth that has already been accumulated. Nobody needs to make more than 150K a year, right? Well, why should anyone have more than that amount in liquid assets?

    Let’s see how excited these people remain.

    That means Sanders’d actually have to lose his religion. I’d say that may be the end of the world as we know it.

    • #12
    • April 12, 2016, at 11:12 AM PDT
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  13. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy WeivodaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Amy Schley:I think there’s also an element of insecurity in the entertainment set. With extremely few exceptions, the most rich and famous celebrities aren’t the people who are the best at their jobs — they’re the folks who were in the right place at the right time, with the right agents and right charisma and the right sound/movie at the right cultural moment. I think they extrapolate that experience onto all the other rich folks. They feel they didn’t really *earn* their wealth; therefore, no one has. In which case, no real harm sharing some of it with the people who weren’t so lucky.

    This has been my theory, as well.

    • #13
    • April 12, 2016, at 11:24 AM PDT
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  14. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Here’s how it works rhetorically and mathematically:

    Remember when Obama was campaigning to increase income tax rates on “millionaires and billionaires” and denouncing those who opposed him as greedy and willing to see children die to protect their wealth?

    His actual proposals would have started to raise taxes on joint filers making more than 250K a year (the final agreement was to raise taxes on those making more than 400K). Let’s look at two case studies.

    The first is a married couple, owning their own business, with two children approaching college age and a house worth 500K with a 300K mortgage. After years building their business, they’ve had some success and earned $350K in a year but have very little in personal savings. Their taxes would increase.

    The second is a young single person who inherited $16 million, purchased a home worth $1 million for cash and invested the rest in tax free munis, yielding an income of 350K a year, which allowed him to spend 36K to purchase a plate at an Obama fundraiser. His taxes, which are zero, would not increase.

    • #14
    • April 12, 2016, at 11:30 AM PDT
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  15. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator

    Severely Ltd.: As much as I dislike Sean Penn, I think he’s a good, possibly great, actor, but I also imagine that the path to success hasn’t been as difficult for him as, say, Ben Carson’s. Penn has a gift and though I’m not going to his films, I don’t begrudge him turning that gift into millions. The same with athletes, musicians, and all the other professions that receive outsized pay checks today. Knock yourself out, Sean, and thank your lucky stars you’re not in the acting company at The Globe back in the day.

    Eh, unless an actor used some serious nepotism to break into the business, I don’t think any of them would say it was “easy.” It’s hard work, but success comes far more randomly. How do you become a world class surgeon? Study hard in college, study harder in med school, get a prestigious residency, and then just do a fantastic job. How do you become a movie star? It’s not enough (or sometimes even necessary) to spend years and decades honing your craft — you have to catch the eyes of the right people (something you have limited control over) and get repeatedly cast in movies people like. e.g. Jeremy Irons is a better actor than Harrison Ford — but their salaries don’t reflect that.

    • #15
    • April 12, 2016, at 11:36 AM PDT
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  16. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Amy Schley:I think there’s also an element of insecurity in the entertainment set. With extremely few exceptions, the most rich and famous celebrities aren’t the people who are the best at their jobs — they’re the folks who were in the right place at the right time, with the right agents and right charisma and the right sound/movie at the right cultural moment. I think they extrapolate that experience onto all the other rich folks. They feel they didn’t really *earn* their wealth; therefore, no one has. In which case, no real harm sharing some of it with the people who weren’t so lucky.

    I think this is spot on. They all know that without the lucky break, someone else would be there. Let’s face it, acting in movies is not that hard. Most big stars play the same person every movie anyway.

    • #16
    • April 12, 2016, at 1:51 PM PDT
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  17. Full Size Tabby Member

    RyanM

    In other words, income redistribution is a tax against other people becoming wealthy. Bernie Sanders is not proposing that the rich pay their fair share, he’s proposing that nobody be allowed to become rich.

    I can’t say i know enough “celebrities” to comment on the prevalence of this view among them, but this certainly drives a lot of “business people.” I believe this is why so many wealthy business people who should know better advocate the nonsense of high income taxes – they don’t want the competition that would come with others trying to become wealthy.

    • #17
    • April 12, 2016, at 7:37 PM PDT
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  18. Full Size Tabby Member

    While I would be entertained watching celebrities and other 0.01%’ers responding to a proposal to confiscate wealth, as a person whose family has built up over a couple of generations wealth far disproportionate to our family income, I would be nervous about someone actually taking the suggestion seriously.

    [I have often marveled at the audacity of Warren Buffet pontificating on the income tax structure when he uses lots of fancy accounting to get the benefits of having a high income but without it being “income” for tax purposes.]

    • #18
    • April 12, 2016, at 7:55 PM PDT
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  19. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator

    Bryan G. Stephens: They all know that without the lucky break, someone else would be there.

    And pretty much every actor I’ve heard talk about this can name someone they met along the way who was a much better actor than they were that no one’s ever heard of, because they didn’t get the lucky break.

    I really do think that the more you study Hollywood, the more you understand why that crowd are so convinced of the corruption and lack of meritocracy of the rest of business world — it’s such an ingrained part of that industry they extrapolate it to the rest of corporate America.

    • #19
    • April 13, 2016, at 5:21 AM PDT
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  20. Larry3435 Member

    Amy Schley:

    Bryan G. Stephens: They all know that without the lucky break, someone else would be there.

    And pretty much every actor I’ve heard talk about this can name someone they met along the way who was a much better actor than they were that no one’s ever heard of, because they didn’t get the lucky break.

    I really do think that the more you study Hollywood, the more you understand why that crowd are so convinced of the corruption and lack of meritocracy of the rest of business world — it’s such an ingrained part of that industry they extrapolate it to the rest of corporate America.

    ^This.

    • #20
    • April 13, 2016, at 6:01 AM PDT
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  21. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Larry3435:A good thought, Ryan, but some of us remember the Beatles fleeing Great Britain and it’s 90+% tax rates.

    Let me tell you how it will be
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me
    Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

    Should five per cent appear too small
    Be thankful I don’t take it all
    Cos I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman

    If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
    If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
    If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat
    If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet

    That was George Harrison being too honest for his own good. If he’d signed on as a spokesperson for government policy they wouldn’t have cared if he parked all his money offshore.

    Same goes for the Rolling Stones. They lived in “tax exile” not because of the taxes, but because they were “anti-establishment”.

    Of course, at the time, a pop group being so square that it supports a government or a political party would have been pretty unthinkable.

    Today, not so much.

    Rich celebrities are Democrats because it feeds into the “caring activist” image which is so much a part of their business model.

    The up-and-coming artists will still be “allowed” to park their money offshore as well, just as long as they keep supporting the correct causes and the correct politicians.

    • #21
    • April 18, 2016, at 9:31 AM PDT
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  22. La Tapada Member

    BrentB67:If someone is extremely wealthy they generally have access to sophisticated legal (hint: you are in the wrong branch of the industry), accounting, and other advisory help.

    This is why very high taxes will ultimately become a burden on the less wealthy.

    • #22
    • April 18, 2016, at 9:31 AM PDT
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  23. Ansonia Member
    AnsoniaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Excellent post. This isn’t said enough. Kids supporting Sanders aren’t “getting” this.

    • #23
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:01 AM PDT
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  24. Marion Evans Inactive

    The OP is totally correct. Big celebrities are acting in their own financial self-interest when they back leftist politicians. They prefer a relatively moribund economy to one that creates a lot of millionaires every year. More millionaires mean more competition for choice vacation destinations, choice real estate and other things that celebrities covet.

    They also view business and finance as dirtier professions compared to their gift-of-God artistic talent. They don’t want to see a wealthy banker or small business owner at the same resort in the Caribbean. Adding insult to injury, that banker or owner is unknown and often richer that they are.

    Another point is that big name stars no longer work in a competitive economy. They have created a monopoly around their name. Only George Clooney can be George Clooney, unlike a less successful actor who can be interchanged. Only REM can be REM etc.

    • #24
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:08 AM PDT
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  25. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ryan,

    And then I realized — like a snail coming late to a conclusion that everyone else has long since reached — that it actually is in their best interests to support these policies because “income redistribution” — as opposed to “property redistribution” — doesn’t impact the already-wealthy all that much. Rather, income redistribution is a tax against other people becoming wealthy.

    A picture perfect revelation. I agree 100%. One might even add that when socialism really gets going it is a tax against other people even becoming middle class. Keep’em poor and dependent. As long as they can afford the price of a ticket or an album that’s good enough.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #25
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:16 AM PDT
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  26. Umbra Fractus Coolidge
    Umbra FractusJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think it’s simpler than that: Celebrities don’t understand math. They think socialism means that everybody gets to live like they do.

    Josh Farnsworth: That means Sanders’d actually have to lose his religion. I’d say that may be the end of the world as we know it.

    He’ll raise taxes till everybody hurts.

    • #26
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:29 AM PDT
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  27. Umbra Fractus Coolidge
    Umbra FractusJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy: Of course, at the time, a pop group being so square that it supports a government or a political party would have been pretty unthinkable.

    I still wonder what could possibly be less “Rock n Roll” than demanding more government control over every aspect of our lives.

    • #27
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:31 AM PDT
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  28. Profile Photo Member

    Umbra Fractus:I think it’s simpler than that: Celebrities don’t understand math. They think socialism means that everybody gets to live like they do.

    Josh Farnsworth: That means Sanders’d actually have to lose his religion. I’d say that may be the end of the world as we know it.

    He’ll raise taxes till everybody hurts.

    Sometimes. (This is fun).

    • #28
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:33 AM PDT
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  29. Profile Photo Member

    Umbra Fractus:

    Misthiocracy: Of course, at the time, a pop group being so square that it supports a government or a political party would have been pretty unthinkable.

    I still wonder what could possibly be less “Rock n Roll” than demanding more government control over every aspect of our lives.

    Imagine there’s no heaven. . . 

    Imagine there’s no countreis . . . and no religions too

    Imagine no possessions

    Ship has sailed long ago, and I seem to recall it being a yellow submarine.

    • #29
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:37 AM PDT
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  30. Bob Wainwright Member

    RyanM:

    Severely Ltd.:Yes! You should. In the form of charity, though, not taxes.

    But that’s exactly my point. Once you’ve got money, taxes could raise to 99% and it doesn’t matter to you, because you’ve already got a stache (right under your nose, no doubt). Why don’t we simply redistribute existing wealth rather than tax those who are earning their wealth for the first time? We like to be revolutionary and rant about the “upper class” aristocrats. Fine, let’s go after them, then.

    That would be a direct tax which the Constitution prohibits at the federal level (it’s allowed only if it’s proportioned among the states based on population and that would make a direct wealth tax impossible). So the super rich are protected. Billionaires standing at the top of the hill kicking rocks down on those trying to get up there to join them. It would be interesting to see how rich lefties would react if there were a serious proposal to amend the Constitution to allow a direct wealth tax. Such a tax simply says “you’ve got money, give it to me.” I think Mr. Stipe would join every other left wing celebrity and be unavailable for public comment.

    • #30
    • April 18, 2016, at 10:39 AM PDT
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