The first such proposal would be to restore the 20 percent excise tax on motion picture theater gross revenues that existed between the end of World War II and its repeal in the mid-1950s. The campaign to end the excise tax had studio executives and movie stars talking like Art Laffer, as they noted that high taxes reduced business income, hurt investment and cost jobs.
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.
For extra fun, they could show pictures of David Geffen’s yacht d John Travolta’s personal Boeing 707 on the Senate floor. You want to tax fat cats? I gotcher “fat cats” right here! Repeal the Hollywood Tax Cuts!
Another valuable proposal would limit the ability of tax-exempt organizations to escape scrutiny and hoard funds. To limit foundations’ role as perpetual-employment agencies for cause-oriented Lefties (and it’s mostly Lefties), Congress might require them to spend at least 10 percent of their endowment each year, with no wiggle room. Why should rich people be able to go on influencing the culture, tax-free, for decades after they die? (Or, perhaps more accurately, why should foundation apparatchiks be free to pursue their own goals tax-free with other people’s money?)
Instapundit reader Philip Zanco had additional suggestions:
Great op-ed on taxing the “rich.” I’ve been saying the same thing for years, but no one seems to pay attention. Let me suggest a few more items:
1. Eliminating the charitable deduction for all estates exceeding $500 million in gross value (Buffett, Gates)
2. Since salaries in excess of $1 million to executives are not deductible, extend this same provision to businesses paying such sums for television and motion picture acting, directing, and production. Extend the same provision to the music industry royalties, etc. (Geffen, Redstone, Spielberg, and a host of other left-coast lefties).
3. Keep the pre-Bush cut tax rates (possibly even raise them) on executives who led firms that either took TARP money in excess of $75 million or invested significant sums of money in special debt instruments or shares of firms that took TARP money, or who were paid significant bonus moneys from TARP firms during the periods immediately before they took funds from the U.S. (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GM, Citibank, JP Morgan, etc.) Make these provisions also applicable to capital gains.
4. Excise tax on all premium television transmissions in excess of 2nd tier cable or satellite packages (HBO, Showtime, etc.) Make the tax non-deductible for income taxes.
5. Extending the corporate accumulated earnings tax to all non-profits having cash, investments, and securities in excess of $500 million (Ford foundation, Pew Foundation, Harvard, Yale, etc).
I like these. A lot. Tell your friends. Tell your Congressman, even if he’s an Obama sock puppet like mine. It’s time the Hollywood elite did their fair share.