Celebrities promote socialism in public while privately fleeing to tax havens, leaving the cost of paying for it all to the rest of us. As Leona Helmsley famously declared, “Only little people pay taxes.”
Celebrities publicly argue for free healthcare, food, housing, education, entertainment, iPhones, guaranteed income, four day work weeks and all of this, not only for U.S. citizens, but for anyone who can get to America, legal or illegal. Indeed, some are promoting the idea that these are “rights”.
During the 2016 campaign we learned that Hillary Clinton had privately told audiences that she wished the Western Hemisphere had no tariffs or borders at all. Of course, Clinton herself, set up a private foundation to avoid taxes altogether. It bankrolled $2 billion in donations from corporations and countries who expected to get an even greater return on their investment when she won.
Boeing, for example, donated $2 million to her foundation and their executives maxed out their legal contributions to her presidential campaign. Afterward, they expected $10 billion for a new Air Force One. But surprise, surprise, Donald Trump won the election. Now Boeing is being challenged by three new competitors for some of their projects and Trump wants a better deal on their plans for Air Force One.
Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, even Donald Trump, pay a lower percentage of their income on taxes than me or you or most Americans. And they are public figures. It gets much worse the deeper you dig. A New York Times article claims that liberal, MSNBC celebrity, Al Sharpton, has IRS tax leins of $4.5 million against him and his company.
Some of this began in the United Kingdom, when 1960 taxes reached a whopping 95% of the income of the rich. The Beatles’ George Harrison wrote his famous “Taxman.” It was a protest against the exorbitant rate.
In the ‘70s and ’80s many rockers ran to tax havens around the world. David Bowie moved to Switzerland. Cat Stevens to Brazil. Ringo Starr moved to Monte Carlo in 1975. He told Howard Stern he pays “zero taxes.” The Police‘s frontman Sting, who sang, “I don’t wanna be no tax exile” in 1978, left for Ireland a couple years later.
Get this. In those days, Rod Stewart and Bad Company avoided taxes by moving to California. Not anymore. People are moving out of California, to escape crime and some of the highest tax rates in the world.
Before I comment further, I want to say that many celebrities are very compassionate and generous. Here in America, Pat Boone, William Shattner, Cecily Tyson, Angelina Jolie, and many others have given their lives to helping others. The late Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope, raised millions for charity. Elton John did not run from the high tax rates in the United Kingdom. Many celebrities pay taxes through the nose.
I served as Chairman of the Charity Awards. Every president since Lyndon Johnson helped us, free of charge, except for the Clinton’s who asked us to pay a speaking fee for an appearance. The Fords, the Carters, the Reagans, the Bushes, all opened the White House to us.
That said, this flight of tax money from the UK has been going on for years. And it happens here in America too. It illustrates the point that no one wants to give money to a government.
Bill Gates is giving away half of his fortune and that’s wonderful but he is not giving it to the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Education. Like other philanthropists he has set up his own NGO. Why? Is the government too corrupt and inefficient?
Warren Buffet says that we should increase taxes on the rich and he will be glad to pay his fair share but nothing stops Warren Buffet from giving his money to the US government now. He doesn’t need written permission from Nancy Pelosi to give more money.
Avoiding taxes is an instinct. It’s like touching fire. It’s okay if you give the government YOUR money – who cares? But I worked hard for MY money. Don’t take it away from me and my children.
The only public figure I know of who has donated to the federal government is Donald Trump, who recently gave $1 million.
Today, celebrities use Nevada and Florida as tax havens. Here’s how it works. They own a mansion in Beverly Hills but they buy a condo in Las Vegas or Miami. As long as they spend 51% of their year in Nevada, for example, they can declare themselves a Nevada resident and Nevada has no state income taxes. Thus they avoid those ridiculous California taxes that everybody else in the state pays.
It gets better. Before flying to Spain to do a movie, they go to their Nevada condo and spend the night, flying out the next day from Las Vegas. The entire trip, even months abroad, counts as living in Nevada.
Of course, they pay taxes. There are 21 separate fees and taxes on their airline ticket alone. But they don’t pay those outrageous California State taxes. That’s only for the “the little people.”