Democrats are fond of accusing Republicans of being hypocrites on a variety of issues, but particularly when it comes to tax policy. The liberal comedian Bill Maher recently claimed that Republicans expose themselves to this critique when they champion the value of hard work and perseverance while simultaneously opposing the inheritance tax.
“If the tough love of cutting off free money for the poor is the right thing to do, how can we stand by and do any less for the Conrad Hiltons of the world? They’ve never known the dignity of work either,” Maher insisted recently. “Shouldn’t we be helping by taxing inheritance at 100 percent?”
Maher seems unaware that the estate tax primarily burdens middle-class Americans and not the truly wealthy who have the wherewithal to avoid that tax by investing in trusts. But Maher’s argument wasn’t designed to appeal to logic; it was more of a tribal grunt.
But at least Maher was trying to be funny – he is, after all, a comedian. By way of contrast, the gaggle of progressive hosts on MSNBC are deadly serious when they issue the oft-repeated charge that the GOP’s pro-growth tax policy preferences are interchangeably heartless, selfish, and quite possibly racist.
“Regressive taxation & tax-avoidance & union crushing & the financial corruption of legislation has fueled inequality more than hard work,” MSNBC host Touré opined on his Twitter account in the winter of last year.
“Conservatives complain about takers but most red states get more from DC than they give ie [sic] takers,” he later remarked. “Most blue states give more than they get.”
For all his interest in altruism via tax policy, you would think he might pay his income taxes. Guess again.
“In September 2013, New York issued a state tax warrant to [Touré] Neblett and his wife, Rita Nakouzi, for $46,862.68. Six months later, the state issued an additional warrant to the couple for $12,849.87,” National Review’s Jillian Kay Melchior reported on Wednesday.
Touré shouldn’t feel too bad about his outstanding debt to Uncle Sam. It seems quite a few of his fellow liberal agitators on that network have also failed to pay their taxes.
“Last month, New York filed a $4,948.15 tax warrant against Joy-Ann Reid, who serves as managing editor of theGrio.com and until earlier this year hosted MSNBC’s The Reid Report, and her husband, Jason,” National Review’s report continued. “Reid has called taxes on the wealthy ‘a basic fairness argument,’ also arguing for ‘smart spending and smart tax increases’ to create economic growth.”
Reid and Neblett were perhaps following weekend host and Wake Forrest University Professor Melissa Harris-Perry’s example. Earlier this year, the IRS slapped Perry and her husband with a $70,000 bill for delinquent taxes from 2013. As Jazz observed, the fact that she was aware that she owed back taxes for over a year did not stop her from mocking Republicans like Sam Brownback for cutting his states personal tax burden and failing to see it result in booming economic growth.
“Filing my taxes,” Perry lamented in 2010. “Can I just say that with what I owe it is freaking miracle & an act of solidarity that I am still a Democrat?” After apparently being subjected to a whirlwind of anger from her liberal fans, Perry recanted. “Thanks tweeps for the reminders of how many of you are struggling with unemployment or underemployment. Will pay my taxes with a smile.”
But this is all small time. Politics Nation host Rev. Al Sharpton has refined the art of tax dodging to a science. “So far, every for-profit enterprise started by Al Sharpton and known to National Review Online has been shut down in at least one jurisdiction for failure to pay taxes, a review of public records in New York and Delaware reveals,” National Review reported in February.
Records show that Sharpton’s beleaguered for-profit entities often overlap and intertwine, some sharing ties with the reverend’s nonprofit organization, National Action Network. Their financial records are copious, confusing, and sometimes outright bizarre, and together, they depict persistent financial woes for Sharpton, who also personally owes New York State nearly $596,000, according to active tax warrants.
“Today, Mr. Sharpton still faces personal federal tax liens of more than $3 million, and state tax liens of $777,657, according to records,” The New York Times revealed last November. “Raw Talent and Revals Communications owe another $717,329 on state and federal tax liens.”
But according to state officials, his balance on the state liens is actually $220,000 greater now than when they were first filed during the years 2008 through 2010. A spokesman for the State Department of Taxation and Finance said state law did not allow him to provide any further details.
You would think that Sharpton would be more cautious about criticizing Republican tax policy given his own indiscretions. You would be wrong.
“He specifically talked about tax credits to the middle class. She warmed us all up with the bread bags around her feet,” Sharpton said following 2015’s State of the Union address and the Republican response delivered by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). “He’s not talking about raising taxes for those with the bread bags, he’s talking about raising taxes for the rich. So how do you go from bread bags to defending the top 1 percent not having to pay taxes?”
The irony meter was positively shattered in 2012 when Sharpton’s network aired a promotional spot in which he decried the GOP’s tax policies as so harmful and anachronistic that they are of a piece with Jim Crow laws. “It was a time it was acceptable women couldn’t vote and blacks were in the back of the bus,” Sharpton insisted. “A lot of things were acceptable–until we stopped accepting it.”
MSNBC’s hosts would be well-served by perusing a dictionary in search of the definition of the word hypocrisy. Apparently, the network’s hosts don’t exactly practice what they preach when it comes to coughing up their due to the federal government. If anyone was tuning in to that network for the hosts’ grasp of fiscal policy or stellar ethics rather than a daily dose of confirmation bias, they might have to think twice.
UPDATE: The Washington Free Beacon’s David Rutz has assembled one of his patented super-cuts featuring the hypocrisy of MSNBC’s tax delinquents. Enjoy: