John Ransom
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In the name of shared sacrifice, it’s time to impose a tax on the $7 billion in box office receipts that Hollywood generates.

I added up the domestic box office activity for the week August 26 through September 1st based on figures provided by Variety. The take for the week for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Our Idiot Brother, Spy Kids: All The Time In The World, plus 130 other box office leaders was $136 million. Year-to-date those films have grossed over $4 billion.

$7 billion in annual receipts can hire quite a few teachers. 145,228 teachers actually.

$136 million each week would pay the unemployment benefits for 461, 017 people at the average benefit of $295 per week.

Look, if people are going to talk seriously about taxing “the idle rich”, they should get serious about looking at the most idle members of our society- those who reside mostly in Los Angeles and Manhattan and make a living off of show business.

Being a sometimes starving writer, I have a lot of respect for the sacrifices that artists make to pursue their craft.



But Hollywood box offices aren’t funding starving artists.

They fund “Contagion,” the next in a series of socially redee…, excit…, err, movies by Matt Damon who gets paid enough to pay 572 teachers. Tell me which has more value for society? A rich, smug, preachy Matt Damon? Or 572 teachers?

And in what passes for political strategy in Democrat circles, Michael Moore, the mustard-stained Leni Riefenstahl of the progressive fascists wants Damon to star in a new role- as president of the United States.

Really. I’m not making that up.

“The Republicans have certainly shown the way — that when you run someone who is popular, you win," said Moore according to the Huffington Post.

Then he compared Damon to Ronald Reagan: "Sometimes even when you run an actor, you win. And I guess I only throw his name out there because I’d like us to start thinking that way."

I don’t know Michael.

You already have a candidate who can only manage prepared lines, has no experience at anything other than acting and thinks that paying taxes makes one an “American.”

"The wealthy are paying less than they paid at any time else, certainly in my lifetime, and probably in the last century," said Damon in the same article. "I don't know what we were paying in the roaring 20's; it's criminal that so little is asked of people who are getting so much. I don't mind paying more. I really don't mind paying more taxes. I'd rather pay for taxes than cut 'Reading is Fundamental' or Head Start or some of these programs that are really helping kids. This is the greatest country in the world; is it really that much worse if you pay 6% more in taxes? Give me a break. Look at what you get for it: you get to be American."

Gee I wonder how we got to be such a great nation when we’ve been under-taxing the citizens by so much for so long?

I think it’s time to take up Damon’s suggestion and tax all of Hollywood at 80 percent of their net worth, and 80 percent of the gross going forward. That would still leave Damon with $3 million of his estimated $65 million net worth. That’s a small price to pay for being an American Matt.  

That’s certainly a better plan than taxing banks. Say what you want but banks generate an awful lot of economic activity by building hospitals and schools and roads. When was the last time a movie paid to fund a new school in a public school district or made sure that teachers wouldn’t get laid off?

When was the last time a Damon movie made money by anything other than glorifying violence or preaching a smug unreality to the rest of us who live in the real world?

Because after all the demonization of “big” oil, “big” banks and corporate profits by Hollywood’s saintly progressives, maybe it’s time for the Damonization of Hollywood in return.  

If you can do it to banks and CEOs, why not actors and film corporations?  

Raising the income tax by Damon’s 6 percent isn’t going change Warren Buffet’s tax bill one bit.

But introducing a Hollywood tax bill at 80 percent off the top may just get the millionaires of Hollywood to shut the heck up.

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John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.