Tax Policy With Media Celebrities


Barack Obama has proposed a budget that, among other things, would reduce taxes on over 90 percent of the population and increase taxes on around 2 percent of the population. Flipping through the Sunday talk shows, it’s striking to see how uniformly wealthy media celebrities think it makes sense to characterize this is a “tax increase” or “raising taxes” and to leap immediately to a discussion of what the impact of these “higher taxes” will be. I think that the majority of people whose taxes are set to go down might be more interested in learning about the impact of lower taxes.

But I suppose this is how the world really looks from David Gregory’s chair. A rich person is somewhat like Jeffrey Immelt who earns tens of millions of dollars in salary and bonuses during good years, and in bad years he waives some of what he’s owed, accepting mere millions in new salary, and gets hailed for his generosity. One assumes that with this multi-million dollar annual salary, he also has investment income. The lower classes in this universe are like Chris Matthews and David Shuster and need to host cable shows. And a David Gregory or a Brian Williams—hosting a network television show, to be sure, but not owning the network—becomes a typical middle-class American.