Will Smith who started as a rap-artist, became a TV show star, and transitioned to movies (I found his role in Independence Day to be a particularly great character) was in France the other day promoting his career. The following was on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, today…
Actor Will Smith during a French television interview this week:
Smith: I have no issue with paying taxes and whatever needs to be done for my country to grow. I believe very firmly that my ability to sit here—I’m a black man who didn’t go to college, yet I get to travel around the world and sell my movies, and I believe very firmly that America is the only place on Earth that I could exist. So I will pay anything that I need to pay to keep my country growing. . . .
Interviewer: Do you know how much in France you would have to pay on earnings above one million euros [under new French President Francois Hollande’s proposal]? Not 30%. 75%.
Smith: 75?! Yeah, that’s different, that’s different. Yeah, 75. Well, you know, God bless America.
So, if Will Smith thinks that around 30% is OK, but 75% would not be OK, plus Facebook investors, including Obama supporter Mark Zuckerberg, have already establish grantor-retained annuity trusts (or GRAT) to avoid at least $200 million in estate & gift taxes on their own shares. In addition, Facebook co-founder, Euardo Saverin has renounced his U.S. citizenship to avoid paying U.S. taxes on his ~$4 billion windfall. (According to the IRS, a record 1,780 U.S. citizens renounced their citizenship last year — a record and 8X increase in less than a decade). Not to mention the fact that Warren Buffett’s corporate holdings within Berkshire Hathaway are in several lawsuits against the IRS so that they can pay LESS taxes.
This demonstrates that the Obama campaign schtick, the Buffett Rule, is not getting much response from folks, allegedly, on his own team. It’s tough when your team is actively working against you.