In our earlier Ron Silver thread, one of our commenters reminded us that a conservative is often a liberal who has been mugged by reality. We saw a glimpse of that from Whoopi Goldberg in her rant about tax hikes ten days ago, and now the Wall Street Journal notes another prominent liberal that may be beginning to see the light:
We’re constantly told that taxes don’t matter to business and investors, but listen to that noted supply-side economist, Alec Baldwin. The actor recently rebuked New York Governor David Paterson for threatening to try to help close the state’s $7 billion budget deficit by canceling a 35% tax credit for films shot in the Big Apple.
“I’m telling you right now,” Mr. Baldwin declared, “if these tax breaks are not reinstated into the budget, film production in this town is going to collapse, and television is going to collapse and it’s all going to go to California.” Well, well. Apparently taxes do matter, at least when it comes to filming “30 Rock” in Manhattan.
Believe it or not, Mr. Baldwin’s views are shared across the movie industry, which is pleading in state capitals across the country for most-favored-tax status. Hollywood productions are highly mobile and can film just about anywhere. So they have taken to shopping around the country — and the world — for the most lucrative tax avoidance deal.
Around the world? Doesn’t that make Hollywood a “Benedict Arnold” industry, according to John Kerry? What happened to all that liberal angst about outsourcing?
Of course, Alec Baldwin is right, something you’ll rarely catch me saying or writing — but it’s hardly rocket science. Businesses tend to operate in the most friendly environments they can access. Taxes comprise part of that equation. If the tax situation in New York declines, then productions will move to other states or countries. People form companies and gain investors to maximize the return on their investments, a completely rational and beneficial arrangement that creates jobs, wealth, and desirable products for commerce.
Now, when Baldwin applies that lesson outside of his industry to the economy as a whole, he will come to the inevitable conclusion that Deadbeatonomics is the worst prescription for an ailing economy, and that lower taxes and investment encouragement are needed. He will become, as the WSJ notes, a supply sider in general, rather than just where his own pocketbook is concerned. Why is this important? Because I believe that a majority of thought exists in America that understands these principles — and that conservatives and the GOP can forge a governing coalition on economic freedom and common sense.
When even Alec Baldwin and Whoopi Goldberg understand the folly of tax hikes, opportunity exists.