Seth MacFarlane Wants You to Know that He’s Rich & Doesn’t Need a Tax Break

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:

<- Normally people stop posting these little limericks by their 18th birthday.

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?


5 thoughts on “Seth MacFarlane Wants You to Know that He’s Rich & Doesn’t Need a Tax Break

  1. As always, a thought-provoking blog post.

    I’d like to address/respond to what I see as your main points:
    1) MacFarlane is a pompous, hypocritical d-bag. Pretends to be a “people’s man”/could use his fortune for good, but isn’t/doesn’t.
    Response: Noted. Point. Agreed that we should (generally) ignore non-economic policy experts on tax policy issues.

    2) I see 2 related arguments—
    a) Public money is a broken and gushing spigot that fattens unworthy causes/recipients. You call this the “limitless drug that is public money.”
    b) Regardless of the amount of spending, it is often used for frivolous/demeaning/insulting purposes (“Piss Christ,” ants on the crucifix, etc).
    Response: a) *Non-defense* discretionary spending is a small portion of our spending compared to the whole budget (17.7%, after running the math from the 2010 budget on the CBO website), and the discretionary budget includes DoT, DoJ, Education, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs, to name a few sources of major expenditures. Spending for Nat’l Endowment for the Arts: ~$150 million, or about 0.025% of the total federal budget. FWIW, Wikipedia estimated the artist’s take from the NEA as 15k. I’m not sure who that fact supports. Just throwing it out there.
    b) I’m not defending “excrement on religious symbols as art.” I did, however, see the Smithsonian exhibit in question, in person and before the offending video was removed. I do vaguely remember it, the 11 seconds of a 4 minute video that was one segment of a larger (and good!) exhibit. The portraiture museum, where the work was housed, does amazing work. As someone who has been there, the flap was bogus. A few controversial/tasteless art exhibits doesn’t necessarily mean that all funding should be scrapped from the NEA and related organizations.

    3) Related to 1 above–Individuals can do a much better job than the government in giving money to the poor/deserving, and tax money would be better spend in the hands of the people.
    Response: Better spent in the hands of the millions who took out mortgages they couldn’t afford? We as Americans don’t exactly have an impeccable track record when it comes to financial decisions. Plus, if we gut the arts, we can save a few hundred million dollars, enough for each taxpayer to get a couple dozen dollars at most. The real federal spending lies in Medicare, Medicaid, Defense, and Social Security.

    I expected you might state that each taxpayer should have the right to decide where his or her money should go, and you do. However, you imply that they will all decide to give it to their local homeless shelter: “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…” I don’t think that, were money redirected to taxpayers, there would be a 1:1 ratio of money taken away from the support of vulgar religious blasphemies and money given to poor homeless people in L.A.

    You’ve got some more smackdowns of MacFarlane to round it up, but you’re whacking away at a soft target. Ok, he’s made some stupid/banal/laughable posts. That in and of itself doesn’t invalidate the underlying argument. I don’t think you’d agree with the statement: “Christian leader ‘X’ is a hypocrite/idiot, so everyone who believes in Christianity is wrong!” It’s easy to make fun of idiots. It’s harder to be right. Lastly, I do appreciate when I see your thoughtful conservative viewpoint because it keeps my pinko-commie-liberal ass honest. And I loves me some sarcasm in a blog. Keep up the posts.

    • Hey man,

      thanks for the compliments. I think you laying into the NEA too much. The larger point in general I was making is that Seth seems to think sending in taxes constitutes charity when in fact a lot of goes to other places before it even hits the people that actually need it. Take foreign aid to Africa for example. How many Mercedes Benz have we bought ruthless dictators with foreign aid? And how many of the starving are given moldy bread with the left over money.

      And Seth’s viewpoint on millionaires wanting to pay more in taxes stems form a larger viewpoint of rich liberals who are clambering for higher taxes when they can actually pool their resources together and tackle some tough issues.

      And you will NEVER get me to agree that Americans buy crap that they can’t afford but the major difference is that when we really don’t get bailouts while the government does. Lets face it, ENRON went down in flames as it should have, but I’ll see you ENRON and raise you government programs and have never alleviated or solved and keep getting higher. I’ve paid into social security and I am not expecting to see any of that money when I retire. Maybe the only thing I am asking is that government take as much responsibility as corporations do when they cook the books.

      And I totally agree with Medicare, Medicaid, Defense and Social Security. That’s the problem when the government makes a promise that it cannot afford to keep. Out of the four mentioned, I would argue only ONE of those is an actual constitutional mandate of the government. And I see how some conservatives are total hypocrites when it comes to cutting things. They want welfare to end BUT DON’T TOUCH MY MEDICAID!

      As far as the NEA is concerned, I think it should be smacked away though I would never censure someone’s really offensive art work. In my opinion, some things are too outrageous and stupid NOT to be seen or heard. I miss the day when art was able “tasteful” nudes and rich people and their stuff. If art truly is art, then relying on a federal money seems to only cheapen the art process.
      A fine duel with my friendly political adversary! You are the only liberal I know who doesn’t take personal jibes or become menstrual. Do you ever feel that when the Simpsons or South Park make fun of Christians, you can laugh at it but when Family Guy does it, it seems really harsh?

    • white…before you so proudly admit to being a commie..maybe you need to read some history books about communist countries and how well they’ve done by their people…especially Stalin…you might think twice about being a proud commie…I was born into it. I know it first hand…talk about corruption in government!!! OIY..nice romantic idea but I can assure you it doesn’t work.

  2. Ha, I try not to take stuff personally…I mean, what good does that ever do? It’s rare that I actually get to talk/reason something out…it seems like everything is a yell-fest sometimes.

    To respond to your last question, yeah…especially after the last Family Guy ep I watched, I do feel like it is harsh on Christianity in a different way than the Simpsons or South Park. And SP, though it is the most bare-knukcle of any show, really comes across as the easiest criticism to digest. Mostly it’s because Trey and Matt don’t come across as anti-religion (or any belief, really), just that they are anti-stupid and anti-hypocrisy. When they hit the Catholic church for shielding pedophiles, or mainline Christianity for being judgemental, etc, etc, there’s nothing really to complain about. You just have to laugh/twinge/think and go, “yeah, you nailed us on that.” Maybe the other thing is that FG tends to be more hit and miss…when it’s on, it’s great, but when a joke bombs, it’s awful.

    Foreign aid can be cut, yeah, but that’s a quarter of a percentage point of the budget, I think.

    I’ll continue this a little later when I have some free time….

  3. I think its don’t cut my medicare or my social security….I paid into the system for 49 years and won’t even get half of it back in my remaining lifetime. Government has spent it and now you’re telling me I can’t even get a quarter of it back???? Whenever people talk about entitlements it makes my bold boil…cause these are the folks who probably didn’t pay into it most of their lives. Medicaid is mostly for folks who didn’t work for it. Had I been able to bank all the money I paid into SS and medicare I would be a millionaire by now.

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