A friend of mine brought to my attention a Tweet from Seth MacFarlane(the creator of Family Guy) and it went exactly like this, “Hey, here’s a fine idea! In an economy where everyone is dead broke, let’s give rich guys like me even MORE tax breaks! Thanks GOP! Yay!!”
Normally when social philosophy from Hollywood is displayed to the public, I usually zone out like when someone starts a political conversation with the words, “Hey, I heard Bill Maher tell a funny and original George W. Bush I.Q joke last night…” Treating these “pearls of wisdom” with any kind of serious thought usually concludes with a retort that any 9th grade English student, with a 9th grade reading level, could come up with. However, with the political climate heating up out there, I found it necessary to examine this practice of the Hollywood elite to announce on the airwaves that since they are indeed rich and well to do, they do not need tax breaks.
If I were going on assumption, I would deduce from this Twitter posting that Seth MacFarlane is very rich man and he will still be rich man even if his taxes remain where they are. Already Seth appears mystified because he is getting the term “tax break” confused with “current tax rate extension.” Although, it goes without saying, that posting mock humility on Twitter will surely guarantee a big splash on the headlines, it won’t stand to one minute of rational scrutiny.
Apparently Seth has been impressed with the United States government’s ability to spend a million dollars that he has decided that they should take a more paternal role in other rich people’s lives. I will leave it to Seth’s subconscious to explain why he thinks the government can spend his money better than he can, but I have serious doubts that a guy as smart as Seth MacFarlane has trouble competing with the IRS in innovative ways of helping those less fortunate. Thus, if he is not stupid, then why would he post, “…In an economy where everyone is dead broke, let’s give rich guys like me even MORE tax breaks!” Perhaps the Jewish accountant from the Family Guy episode, When You Wish Upon a Weinstein, would be able to crunch the numbers on Seth’s W-2’s and inform him that your hard earned money has more power with you than it does with government bureaucrats.
Call me a stickler for efficiency, but writing a check and giving it to the supervisor of a homeless shelter means that most, if not all, of the money goes to running the shelter, where as writing a check to the government in the form of taxes means it is divided up between a government funded postal service, a government funded agent in the IRS mail room, numerous IRS officers and the various other entities that allocate the money. The homeless shelter down the road from Beverly Hills might be waiting on that money to help run its noble cause, but waiting in line to take a portion out of that money are the various other interest groups that are just dying to be injected with the limitless drug that is public money. Let’s say that only a ¼ of this money goes to your favorite shelter, where is the rest of the money allocated to? Well, if you have ever visited a modern art exhibit in the past ten years, surely you have felt the spirit of the almighty radiate through such works as Piss Christ, where a crucifix is submerged in a beaker of urine. If you have been to the Sensation Exhibit, you might have seen the Virgin Mary’s likeness on a canvas surrounded by pornographic cutouts of vaginas. And let’s not forget this latest work of art at the Smithsonian where ants are crawling all over a crucifix. The difference between these contemporary creative uses for crucifixes and the innovative use of a crucifix in the unfortunate scene in the Exorcist is that at least Warner Bros used its own money to fund the project whereas the guy with a successful small business down the road indirectly subsidizes art that cannot compete in the market place without government subsidies. When your tax check arrives in Washington D.C, it will be pounced on more times than Robert Pattinson at Twilight signing party. This is not to make assumptions about Seth’s private charitable giving, but the statement in question is more than we who do not earn Fox Incorporated paychecks should have to bear.
Let’s take a Michael Moore approach to investigative journalism to explain a broader point. Judging by the years and the numbers, the success of Family did not happen until after it was taken off the air. As you may or may not know, Family Guy started its on air debut on January 31, 1999. Seth’s big time success came a year after the 2003 tax cuts. Based on minimal observation, Seth never had a tax cut based off the success of Family Guy due to the fact that it did not return to T.V until 2004. Of course I do not know the logistics of Seth’s bank account but beyond flagrant self-promotion, self-congratulation and self-advertising, I do not see the point in pawning oneself off as a rich guy-champion extraordinaire for the poor.
For the sake of argument, lets say that Seth MacFarlane did receive a generous tax break for his success, what exactly has he done with the extra money he has earned? I think it is a fair question to ask coming from a guy who frequently states that he is rich and does not need a tax break. Here’s just one idea from President Obama:
“I think of Leonard Abess, a bank president from Miami who reportedly cashed out of his company, took a $60 million bonus, and gave it out to all 399 people who worked for him, plus another 72 who used to work for him. He didn’t tell anyone, but when the local newspaper found out, he simply said, “I knew some of these people since I was 7 years old. I didn’t feel right getting the money myself.” –President Obama, State of the Union February 24, 2009.
If Seth has all this money collecting dust in a corner, then why does he not spread his wealth amongst his team that help make the Family Guy successful? From the employees that are right under him, to the custodians that clean up his office after hours, Seth could actually make the money he has earned go a lot farther than a pencil pusher at the IRS. Even if Seth is convinced that the government is the most efficient enterprise to allocate his earnings, then how much does it take to give back your tax break to the government? As President Obama stated from his latest State of the Union Address, “Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.” ~Barack Obama, State of the Union January 25, 2011.
Or, take a lesson from baseball player Gil Meche, “Meche announced last week he will retire, giving up the payday due on the last year of his deal. Meche has always been known for his integrity, according to The New York Times, but this move left the baseball world stunned. Meche said he just didn’t like the idea of not earning his keep.
“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche told the paper from his temporary home in Lafayette, La. “Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.”
If President Obama is encouraging millionaires to give up their tax breaks, then surely Seth MacFarlane can evolve on this issue too and get back to posting eloquence such as this:
The musings of either:
1. A rebellious pastor’s son
2. An atheist trolling in a Southern-Baptist chat room.
3. A 1990’s Marilyn Manson fan
4. A Christian who has lost his/her faith after a Religious 101 class.
5. The “rebel” in the youth group.
Someone in Hollywood has the same opinion as Michael Moore! What is the world coming to?