Dinner with Clooney

On January 1st the President went before the country to make a speech about the federal budget deal that had just been reached. He began by saying,

“The central premise of my campaign for President was to change the tax code that was too skewed towards the wealthy at the expense of working, middle class Americans. Tonight, we’ve done that.”

If that’s true, then why did this budget agreement extend Section 181 of the tax code for another year? Section 181 provides up to $20 million in tax deductions per production for the movie and film industry. Why do film production companies owned by filthy rich guys like George Clooney, Stephen Spielberg and Oliver Stone get this kind of preferential treatment? Those three guys combined have a net worth of about $3.2 billion. Last year, George Clooney hosted a fundraiser for President Obama and his re-election campaign. A plate at the table cost a paltry $40,000! Gulp! Good move George, that kind of schmoozing really pays off!

But wait, I was talking about the President’s speech – later in the speech President Obama said,

“Cutting spending has to go hand in hand with further reforms to our tax code so that the wealthiest corporations and individuals can’t take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans.”

Wow! As usual the President sounds like he really means business. I sincerely hope he will follow through and use his bully pulpit to end those obscenely profitable corporate loopholes. I especially hope he singles out the fat cats in Hollywood who should be paying, as the President says, “more of their fair share” in order to fund our cash-strapped government. Maybe he’ll appoint tough guy Joe Biden as Chairman of the Commission to End Corporate Welfare.

This President once ran on hope, so in the spirit of bipartisanship, I will give the President the benefit of the doubt and hold on to some hope regarding this issue. But, based on the fact that Mr. Spielberg has contributed about $800,000 over the years to the Democrat party and the likelihood that celebrities like George Clooney will be holding lavish fundraisers for liberal politicians in the future, I don’t think it would be wise for me to hold my breath for very long.

But I do love the President’s speeches. They are always good for a cynical laugh.

Brutus

Hollywood’s Crony Capitalists

Yesterday I wrote that the entertainment industry is full of greedy business people who have more money than they can possibly need. Most of them, rich Liberals, continually try to escape paying their fair share of taxes when it comes to funding our cash strapped state and Federal governments.

Fat cat movie moguls like Harvey Weinstein, Oliver Stone and Matt Damon were just cut another sweet deal with the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. This budget agreement contained an extension of the current law that allows them to escape paying up to 15 million dollars in taxes per production if produced here in the U.S. rather than on foreign soil. Proof that it pays very well to have friends in high places in Washington.

These clever allies of the Liberal Democrats in Congress claim that these rich tax breaks are needed to bring film production back to the United States. Why, I ask, would those Hollywood fat cats outsource their film production to foreign lands in the first place? How unpatriotic. Is all they care about their bottom line? Are they no different than greedy Wall Street Bankers or other American corporations that send American jobs overseas?

I remember when John Kerry was running for president in 2004 he scolded American businesses that sent jobs overseas, calling them “Benedict Arnold companies.” I guess he was also talking about his friends in Hollywood, but forgot to include them in his criticism. The wealthy and well-connected people in the entertainment industry get special protection from their friends in Congress while many Americans are lucky if they can scrounge up a few dollars to see a movie. No wonder I don’t go to the movies much anymore.

Brutus