Paul L. Caron

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stephen King: 'Why Am I Not Paying 50% Tax?'

The Daily Caller, Stephen King Doesn’t Think His Taxes Are High Enough:

[A]s a rich person I pay 28% tax. What I want to ask you is why am I not paying fifty?
                                                                                                                  Stephen King

What I want to ask you, Stephen King, is… who’s stopping you? If you don’t think you’re giving enough of your money to the government, if you think they need it more than you do — that they can make better use of it than you can — don’t waste it on charity. Write a check, for whatever amount assuages your guilt about being successful, and send it right on over to the government! According to the official site of the Treasury Department:

Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called “Gifts to the United States.”

Celebrity Tax Lore, Tax | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Stephen King: 'Why Am I Not Paying 50% Tax?':


He can volunteer to pay 50 or 60%, but for the rest of the taxes are too DAMN high!

Posted by: Martin | Mar 16, 2011 9:29:21 AM

This is Amerika! Rich people are not to pay large taxes....Hemsley.
The policy in U.S.= Micromanage the poor Tax Breaks for the Rich! Remember we are not a millinium away from Midevil times.
Please masser, why do I the poor peasant have to pay the king ransom...

Posted by: Nick Paleveda MBA J.D. LL.M | Mar 14, 2011 9:23:31 AM

Oh boo hoo. The top bracket us so oppressed. I'm glad all of the commenters here will stand up for the richest 1% of Americans.

Posted by: tmoore | Mar 13, 2011 10:07:53 AM

Walter -- Of course we know what he is saying. What gets under our skin is the presumption that everyone for whom he wants the tax burden to go up are even close to be similarly situated. I need not elaborate comparing the incomparability of raising taxes on "his class" relative to the bulk of those whose taxes would be raised by their pleas. (And who already may be trapped by higher effective tax burdens.) In fact, I could even suggest that his plea is a cynical attempt to socialize among a much larger group the tax hikes that his arguments "support" focusing on a much smaller group. In sum: the best we can end up saying is "Speak for Yourself, Mr. King."

Posted by: MG | Mar 13, 2011 6:34:22 AM

My point was that everybody above about $150k rich DOES pay 40% to 50% or more marginal rate on ordinary income. It's the 28% perception that's inaccurate, in part because Congress uses deception (aka low salience) in the tax law.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Mar 12, 2011 7:20:08 PM

It's pretty obvious that he's asking why EVERYONE who earns what he does doesn't pay 50%, not why he himself doesn't. Did any of you other commenters, or this, even watch the video? Here is what he says: "As a rich person, I pay 28% tax. What I want to ask you is, why am I not paying 50%? Why isn't everybody in my bracket paying 50%?"

He's just arguing for a higher top marginal rate. We can argue about whether or not that's a good idea, and we should. But everyone attacking him and saying he could pay more if he wanted are clearly missing his point - either intentionally or ignorantly.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 12, 2011 10:51:02 AM

Stephen King wants to raise taxes!? He can't scare me.

Posted by: Woody | Mar 12, 2011 9:40:11 AM

First, the 28% rate is out of date since 1991. Second, it does not include phase-outs and other hidden rate increases. Third, it excludes the Medicare tax (soon to increase under Obama's heath care law). Fourth, it excludes state income tax.

I would not be surprised if Stephen King is ALREADY paying 50% marginal rate. There are plenty of people paying that rate and more.

Then there are the completely crazy cases. If you happen to have 4 children in college your marginal rate can exceed 100% due to the steep phase-out of the education tax credit, which adds 12.5% PER CHILD to your marginal rate.

My point is the statutory rate is false advertising. People would be shocked if they knew their actual marginal tax rates. It will only get worse when the Chinese stop throwing their money away on Treasury bonds.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Mar 12, 2011 8:46:02 AM

Yes, if he wishes to pay more why doesn't he do so . . . or perhaps he can't enjoy it unless others pay more, also?

Posted by: mike livingston | Mar 12, 2011 6:17:15 AM

I would support two changes to the Tax Code, that would address these two issues:
1. Create a hypothetical Fair Tax curve that starts at 36% for the working stiff filthy rich family earning $250K, and goes up pretty steeply towards the magical 70% of the pre-Reagan era the truly rich yearn for.
2. Have the filer calculate this return and state it on line XX.
3. Make the filer have to decline paying this amount, at which point the statutory (never-enough) amount will be calculated.

Posted by: MG | Mar 12, 2011 4:14:50 AM

Mr. King can pay higher taxes any time he wants to: just has stop taking deductions! Make your tax return public, Mr King, and I'm sure I can give you a few ideas on how to increase your taxes today with little effort.

Posted by: Pete Terranova | Mar 12, 2011 3:31:44 AM

Uhhh, maybe he should donate the extra to the treasury, or charity. The rest of us are just fine with our already too high taxes.

Posted by: GM | Mar 11, 2011 10:35:32 PM