Rich Hollywood Democrats will pay more in taxes as part of this week’s deal, but they also stand to recoup those tax losses, and more, through political maneuvers including Chinese distribution arrangements, subsidies to production, and labor policies benefiting the constellation of unions that occupy the entertainment industry. It does not matter whether you are a Republican donor or a Democratic one: It’s always good to have influential friends.
The Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group has the most comprehensive catalogue of the gifts included in the fiscal cliff bill for Obama’s favorite constituencies. There is the Production Tax Credit, which benefits the alternative energy industry and its liberal benefactors. There is the exemption for New York City bonds, which is intended to help the city recover from a terrorist attack that occurred 11 years ago but which also helped line the pockets of Goldman Sachs and the future members of Democratic administrations employed there. There is a tax credit for maintaining railroad tracks for which BNSF Railway lobbied intensely. BNSF is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, which is of course the conglomerate operated by the billionaire Democratic donor and oddball Warren Buffett.
All too revealing that well-heeled lobbyists, many of them liberal, are able to secure some $40 billion in tax breaks for connected interests while the elected representatives of the United States of America are unable or unwilling to stop a $100 billion payroll tax increase affecting 160 million people. Such is life in Washington, D.C., in the early twenty-first century, where the superrich divide the spoils under the guise of enlightened morality. Or as Chris Matthews said so well: “What they’re doing is for the money!”