Will Smith: I’d pay more taxes. Wait, how much more?! (video)

Perhaps Warren Buffett and the other members of his Billionaires for Higher Taxes club should go on French television, where they might actually be asked about the kind of high tax rates some people on the left think the U.S. should implement.

Perhaps they’d have the same kind of reaction Will Smith did (Smith’s interview follows a clip of French President-elect Francois Hollande, and the actor is asked about the tax rate after his first answer):

C’est vrai!

(H/t: Ezra Klein, who links Smith’s reaction to Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s recent renunciation of his U.S. citizenship ahead of the company’s forthcoming IPO, after which he will go from being very rich to ultra-rich.)

– By Kyle Wingfield

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196 comments Add your comment

Principles and Money soon parted

May 15th, 2012
6:05 am

It’s easy to spend other people’s money…

Joel Edge

May 15th, 2012
6:30 am

That’s priceless. If I heard that correctly, after he finally understood 75% and not 35%. God bless America indeed.

Joel Edge

May 15th, 2012
6:34 am

My bad. it was 30%.

Stephenson Billings

May 15th, 2012
7:01 am

Come on, he makes tons of money. 75% is nothing. :rolleyes:

Ayn Rant

May 15th, 2012
7:12 am

Don’t forget history! The economy does best when the top tax bracket is above 70%. That’s because money was meant to circulate, not to be dammed up at the top for use as poker chips in the game of High Finance.

Unfortunately, France will not experience great benefit from an improved tax rate for the ultra-rich: in the EU, people can simply move to another country where the tax rate is lower. Unlike Americans, EU citizens pay tax according to residence, not citizenship.

iggy

May 15th, 2012
7:14 am

Will Smith is a mediocre actor at best and his opinions on anything are a waste of oxygen.

Stephenson Billings

May 15th, 2012
7:14 am

“Don’t forget history! ”

Don’t forget all the tax shelters and loop holes too. No one, who was smart, ever payed the top marginal rate when it was that high.

Stephenson Billings

May 15th, 2012
7:15 am

I mean paid.

Stephenson Billings

May 15th, 2012
7:18 am

‘That’s because money was meant to circulate”

You must mean being confiscated and circulated by the gov’t, and not by the producers in a free market economy. Unfortunately, as we see by Smith’s reaction, there is a tax rate at which the “rich” will just stop paying and producing.

tiredofIT

May 15th, 2012
7:37 am

” there is a tax rate at which the “rich” will just stop paying and producing.” Then screw them, and someone will come along and replace them.

JohnnyReb

May 15th, 2012
7:44 am

The rich don’t/won’t pay extremely high tax rates. Instead, they move. Either themselves, their businesses or both.

Those who propose extremely high tax rates fail to see there is no difference, tax wise, between an individual and all those companies they loathe who moved overseas. The companies moved because the business climate, including taxes, was not the best for them here.

Misty Fyed

May 15th, 2012
7:47 am

I will never be effected by the top tax bracket; but the fact that so many think taking 3 out of every 4 dollars someone earns is fair is ridiculous.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

May 15th, 2012
8:14 am

I don’t think anyone has suggested we move the top US income tax rate to 75%, or did I miss something?

More hyperbole from Kyle and the righties?

Like if we pass a law to only allow you to buy one gun a month we are somehow taking away all your guns?

Mr. Holmes

May 15th, 2012
8:18 am

Really, Kyle. At least make your increasingly silly posts somewhat difficult to invalidate.

1. Are there people proposing a 75% marginal tax rate? Probably. There probably also are people advocating a 90% top rate (you know, like we had under that communist Dwight Eisenhower), just like there are people proposing a 10% top rate, and there are people proposing we move back to the gold standard, and people proposing we cease to use paper currency and switch to wheels of cheese to use as a means of exchange.

2. What does the above mean for the effective conversation about fair tax rates? Not much. You eliminate the outliers on both sides and deal with the perspectives of the middle 80%. And the vast, vast majority of progressives who would like to see higher tax rates are advocating a return to the rates we enjoyed during the longest peacetime economic expansion in the country’s history–way back in history, way, wayyyyyyy back in time, like 12 whole years ago.

Next.

commoncents

May 15th, 2012
8:18 am

Finn- Maybe we should be like China and only allow one child. I mean, it’s not like we’re taking away your right to have children…

iggy

May 15th, 2012
8:20 am

Will Smith should be forced to pay a “lack of talent tax”.

commoncents

May 15th, 2012
8:21 am

Mr. Holmes,

When was there ever a tax rate that “we enjoyed?”

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

May 15th, 2012
8:27 am

Maybe we should be like China and only allow one child.

That would cut into trailer trash baby production which is the GOP’s base. Can’t have that.

Mr. Holmes

May 15th, 2012
8:30 am

When was there ever a tax rate that “we enjoyed?”

Paying taxes is a civic responsibility, no less than voting. If you simply can’t go on living while paying your share toward a government that provides you with so very much–even if you can’t or won’t see it–then I’m sure there’s a Caribbean island or two where you could live, pay barely a red cent in taxes, and enjoy the high standard of life those economies typically enjoy.

But to treat your post seriously, of course no one “likes” paying taxes. However as Americans we get a pretty good return on our investment, even given the governmental dysfunction of late.

commoncents

May 15th, 2012
8:32 am

Finn- “That would cut into trailer trash baby production which is the GOP’s base. Can’t have that.”

It would also cause a decline in the ghetto boos. It would net out

commoncents

May 15th, 2012
8:33 am

Holmes- I was merely joking at your wording. I agree that taxes are essential, but the rates and their use are highly debatable…

finn mccool

May 15th, 2012
8:34 am

Racistcents,

What is a ghetto boo?

Don't Tread

May 15th, 2012
8:35 am

“in the EU, people can simply move to another country where the tax rate is lower.” Ummm…I don’t think we restrict someone from moving away from here, either. Well, not yet. Give the Democrats another supermajority and we’ll see quite the dogpile of unconstitutional stuff they will pass.

And rich people will always be able to hire someone smart enough to tell them how to avoid paying as much tax as possible. (Notice I referred to “tax avoidance” – perfectly legal, vs. “tax evasion” – illegal. Of course, Democrats think “tax avoidance” is illegal too, after all, we’re talking about Other People’s Money.)

iggy

May 15th, 2012
8:37 am

Its a shame that the chinese policy of “one child per couple” wasnt in force before Will and Jada had that little miscreant, Willow.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

May 15th, 2012
8:43 am

It’s easy to spend other people’s money…

It isn’t his. He just took it from someone else.

“Why shouldn’t the American people take half my money from me? I took all of it from them.”

Edward Albert Filene (1869-1937)

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

May 15th, 2012
8:50 am

Europeans attacking pirates, Obama attacked pirates. Two forces attacking actual enemies of the state.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/world/africa/european-forces-strike-pirate-base-in-somalia.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

I’m sure the Cons are pining for another leader who attacks countries that haven’t attacked us – like Iraq.

commoncents

May 15th, 2012
9:05 am

Finn,
What is “trailer trash?”

Iggy- Do you have a personal problem with Will Smith??

Don't Tread

May 15th, 2012
9:06 am

Liberal definition of earning your own money: “taking it from someone else”. :roll:

No, welfare recipients take money from someone else. There was no product or service exchanged for that money. That’s the difference between “earning money” and “taking it from someone else”.

Junior Samples

May 15th, 2012
9:14 am

Watch out Rodney, Kyle’s gunnin’ for your job!

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 15th, 2012
9:17 am

If you are worthless, unproductive and lazy of course you want 75% of other people’s money available for you to squander.

geez, Kyle, what’s the question?

1961_Xer

May 15th, 2012
9:18 am

I think the point of this video…. Iggy… is his reaction to a 75% tax rate. His opinion “I’ll pay higher rates to do what is necessary for my country”… until he discovers the rate they are talking about is 75%. To other liberals in this thread: Yes, many liberals here and overseas see nothing wrong with 75% and even 90% rates of everything over some maximum salary. If you are liberal and you are sarcastically commenting “no one has said anything about a 75% rate here”, then you need to be intellectually honest and state clearly what the maximum total tax rate should be required. But progressive leaders won’t name the percentage that they think is “fair” for fear that the Democratic electorate will have the same reaction as Will Smith… flabbergasted.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

May 15th, 2012
9:21 am

All that “free stuff” those poor people are getting, huh? Bothers you?

Mr. Holmes

May 15th, 2012
9:24 am

But progressive leaders won’t name the percentage that they think is “fair” for fear that the Democratic electorate will have the same reaction as Will Smith… flabbergasted.

Ummm, no. See earlier post, re: Clinton-era tax rates.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

May 15th, 2012
9:24 am

Trailer trash (or trailer park trash) is a derogatory North American English term for poor people living in trailers or mobile homes, especially in trailer parks.

See also:
 Ghetto fabulous
 Hillbilly
 Pikey
 Redneck
 White trash
 Yokel (synonymous with “bama”, “corn pone”, “country”, “hayseed”, “hick”)

bob

May 15th, 2012
9:32 am

Finn, even trailer trash knows the differance between your “mute point” and moot point. You are no better than a trailer dweller.

iggy

May 15th, 2012
9:38 am

“mute point” LOL.

HIPPOCRIT

May 15th, 2012
9:43 am

if the democrats wont give the #% for their “fair” tax rate, then why dont the stupid republicans paint the dems with the 75% rate that France wants????????

republicans are not very media savy………… once painted with 75% they have to come up with a # and then they will have problems

East Lake Ira

May 15th, 2012
9:46 am

How about we start with letting the Bush/Obama tax cuts expire?

Seems a reasonable compromise.

iggy

May 15th, 2012
9:49 am

Why pay higher tax rates at all. The public sector is chock full of fraud, scams, theives etc. There is plenty of tax dollars, more than enough and if the govt did their job, by eliminating this waste/fraud, then tax rates/increases would be a mute, I MEAN Moot point.

HIPPOCRIT

May 15th, 2012
9:50 am

hey phrase

HOW ABOUT WE START

think about it

JohnnyReb

May 15th, 2012
9:52 am

Democrats will give you a tax rate they believe fair until they would be expected to pay the same. Then they want you to believe that because you make more it is “fair” that you pay more. It’s not fair, never has been, never will be. It’s socialisim.

I’ll tell you whats not fair – the 50% that pay no federal income taxes.

HIPPOCRIT

May 15th, 2012
9:54 am

johnnyreb

you make the great point that before the debate can begin on taxes

the definition of FAIR needs to be articulated by both sides

Illegal Alien

May 15th, 2012
9:54 am

Everytime someone spends money, no matter who or how they got it, they’re creating jobs.

Even welfare moochers are “job creators”. The more money circulating, the more jobs.

jms

May 15th, 2012
9:54 am

I don’t think the tax rates bother people as much as what the government does with the money. Does anyone really think if we raised rates the government would do the responsible thing and pay down our national debt? No, they’d spend it like drunken sailors on some “emergency.”

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

May 15th, 2012
9:57 am

Why pay higher tax rates at all

More money to give to bankers as part of bailouts…

JohnnyReb

May 15th, 2012
9:58 am

jms – the rates bother me. Me and the misses paid 29% for 2011. But, you are correct, how it is being spent bothers me also. My back is getting weak from carrying around so many non-contributors.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

May 15th, 2012
9:59 am

A fair tax rate is something Democrats campaign on, but never bother to articulate.

HIPPOCRIT

May 15th, 2012
9:59 am

since welfare moochers are job creators
its time to tax them as such……………. they need to start paying their fair share

HIPPOCRIT

May 15th, 2012
10:02 am

tiberius

that is why republicans need to go on a media blitz and paint the democrats as wanting 75% tax rate like France…………

if they can paint republicans as wanting grandma to die…………. paint them as French 75%’s

once they are painted with 75% then they have to publicly bicker over the definition of fair and to start giving rates of which even the democrats wont agree on

JohnnyReb

May 15th, 2012
10:02 am

Yea, Dems actually believe trickle up poverty will create jobs. Obama spent 5 trillion and the real unemployment is about 15%. Outstanding performance; can I please have another. Not.