A few days ago, I was lying around my apartment watching German scat videos on my lapper while HBO was playing on the TV in the background. After a heated act of self-gratification, I usually feel like a million bucks, but this time my orgasmic bliss was cut short when I heard a familiar voice blaring from the television. Bill Maher.
The sound of that hack delivering predictably liberal punchlines is usually enough to make me change the channel or plunge a bloody heroin needle into my eardrums, but I had a belly button full of seed so I was unable to get up and grab the remote without soiling my couch. However, much to my surprise, after about two minutes of dialogue, I found myself actually enjoying what was coming out of Maher’s mouth.
Now, before you jump down to the comments section and petition the tribal elders to fling heavy stones at my unprotected face, let me say that I hate Bill Maher. He has the charisma of an infected rectal polyp and his show is just as bad. I would rather strip naked and play musical chairs with the cast of Rent peaking on Viagra than watch that nonsense. Yet as much as I hate him, he actually delivered a few lines that had me nodding in agreement.
Let me set the scene. The panel was discussing government spending, budget cuts and the deficit when Maher interrupted that dude Richard Maddow and said that the rich actually do pay more than their fair share. My jaw was on the ground.
Here is his exact quote:
“Rich people actually do pay the freight in this country. I just saw these statistics. Something like 70 percent. And here in California, I just want to say: Liberals – you could actually lose ME. It’s outrageous what we’re paying. Over 50%! I’m willing to pay my fair share, but it’s ridiculous.”
There is a lot going on in those comments, so let’s break them down.
“Rich people actually do pay the freight in this country. I just saw these statistics. Something like 70%!”
Presumably, he was referencing how the top 10% pay upwards of 70% of the federal income taxes. It’s shocking that Maher is “just” now seeing these statistics, considering that was what the 2010 midterm and the 2012 presidential elections were all about, but I guess you won’t come across those statistics if you’re only watching MSNBC and reading the Huffington Post.
“And here in California, I just want to say: Liberals – you could actually lose ME!”
It’s nice to hear those remarks now, but where were those sentiments during the last California gubernatorial race? Liberal candidate Jerry Brown’s entire platform was based on the notion that the high-earners of California weren’t paying their “fair share” even though the top 1% of households paid over 50% of the state’s income taxes. After Brown was elected governor of California, he raised the state marginal income tax rate from 10.3% to 13.3%, which is the highest in the nation.
“It’s outrageous what we’re paying. Over 50%! I’m willing to pay my fair share, but it’s ridiculous.”
Yes, Bill, it is outrageous. Actually, I don’t think the term “outrageous” even begins to do it justice. It’s criminal. Take a minute, and think about what it means to pay 50% of your income in taxes. It means that you are equal partners with the government, even though you do all of the work. It means that you work from January 1 to July 1 to fulfill your obligation to the government, surrendering everything you earn to the federal, state or local government. After that, you can keep everything you earn from July 1 to December 31.
Hey Maher, if you think it is so “outrageous” that you are essentially going halvsies with the government on your earnings, how about the next time a politician utters the phrase “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that” you don’t donate a million clams to get him elected?
As “outrageous” as paying 50% in taxes sounds, Maher would be lucky to just be paying 50%. Look at his quote. He’s paying “over” 50% and I would assume he is paying a lot more than just 50%. Maher is in the top income bracket, and after the fiscal cliff fiasco, the top marginal rates were increased to 39.6%. Combine that with payroll taxes and the 13.3% top marginal state income tax rate in California and Maher is already getting a swift kick to the soft stuff. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Maher works for HBO, and HBO pays a shitload of corporate taxes. However, corporations are just legal entities. “They” don’t pay taxes, people do — either in the form of passing it on to the consumer, shrinking the pie for the employees and investors to divvy up or a combination of both. Whatever HBO pays Maher, it would be hell of a lot more if HBO didn’t have to pay corporate taxes.
The aforementioned taxes are a big part of Maher’s overall tax liability, but the burden doesn’t end there. That is just what comes out of his check. Think of the taxes that he has to pay out of his take-home pay. Real estate taxes. Personal property taxes. Excise taxes. Sales taxes, which in California starts at 7.5% and can go up to 10%.
Furthermore, at some point he is going to have to transfer the wealth he has accumulated to someone, presumably to friends or family. There will be plenty of taxes to pay for that “privilege.” He will have to pay gift taxes for lifetime transfers of property, estate taxes for property transfers at death or generational skipping transfer taxes for transfers of property to someone more than one generation younger than him. Keep in mind, those taxes will be levied on income, money or property that has already been taxed.
Still, there are a multitude of hidden taxes that Maher pays that he probably never thinks about. For example, suppose Maher is out one night looking for a good time and he wanders into a local sex shop to a purchase a tightly-coiled rubber pleasure. He takes the tightly-coiled rubber pleasure fist to the cash register, and the clerk says it costs $100 (tax included). How much of that $100 is tax? Obviously, the sales tax is 10%, but keep in mind all of the taxes that the store owner has to pay. Business and corporate taxes. Payroll taxes. Property taxes. Medicare. Medicaid. I could go on all day. A good portion of those taxes are going to be passed along to Maher in the form of a higher price for the tightly-coiled rubber pleasure fist. If Maher pays 100 frog skins for his tightly-coiled rubber pleasure fist, I’m guessing at least $30 will go toward some form of tax.
How many bites of the same apple is the government going to take? That would seem like a reasonable question for someone to ask, unless you happen to vote Republican. You see, Maher’s comments on this issue are great for a number of reasons. First, it’s nice to see someone who is to the left of Karl Marx realize that there comes a point when taxation becomes punitive. Second, and more importantly, the comments highlight the blatant hypocrisy of the left and the liberal bias in the mainstream media. Has anyone heard any of the mainstream outlets running with the story? I haven’t.
Did any of the mainstream outlets run the story when Phil Mickelson said the exact same thing? Of course they did. Here is Hefty’s quote:
“If you add up all the federal, and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate’s 62, 63 percent. So I’ve got to make some decisions on what I’m going to do.”
Sounds reasonable to me. But for that, the left bent Mickelson over and sodomized him with a broken whiskey bottle (figuratively, of course). Within a day, the faux outrage was enough that Mickelson had to issue a public statement retracting his comments. Yet nobody has said anything about Maher’s remarks. Why is that? Because he is a lib. If you’re liberal, you have the carte blanche to say whatever you want without fear of reprisal. That must be amazing.