Melissa Harris-Perry doesn't like tax cuts... or paying taxes

You may not be familiar with MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry. (And judging by the ratings, you’re in a group which would fit inside the average Denny’s if you are) but she has some strong opinions on economic and tax policy. She wants you to know that tax cuts don’t work and we need to make the successful among us pay their fair share to keep the system in functional order. In fact, when Republicans try to cut taxes, she openly mocks them.


Dear Governor Sam Brownback,,

Remember when you used your very first state-of-the-state back in 2011 to promise a reset of the Kansas tax code?

Well, you made good in May of 2012 when you signed historic tax cuts into law and claimed that as the state marched toward zero income tax it would quote “create tens of thousands of new jobs and help make Kansas the best place in America to start and grow a small business.” You followed that up with even further income tax cuts in 2013.

But the jobs, and small business growth, and booming prosperity you hypothesized did not materialize. Instead, as a result of your experiment last April, Moody’s downgraded your state’s credit score. And Standard and Poors followed with a credit downgrade for Kansas in August. The downgrades reflected a reality your sunny disposition did not. Your tax cuts have created a 1 billion dollar revenue loss and run up a staggering budgetary shortfall, estimated to be as large as 280 million dollars.

Well, that’s certainly a principled stand. Good for you! You feel that those who do well in our society should pay more and make life easier for those lower on the ladder. People such as… successful cable news show hosts? I mean, you don’t take a job hosting a nationally broadcast news show for free, right? So at least you’re out there paying your fair share and taking care of the little people, right?


Well… maybe the actual paying of taxes is for the little people after all.

According to The Winston-Salem Journal, Wake Forest University professor and MSNBC weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry and her husband James Perry owe the Internal Revenue Service $70,000 in delinquent taxes.

A notice filed this month in the Forsyth County Hall of Justice indicates the IRS has placed a lien on the Perrys.

In an email Wednesday, Harris-Perry said she was unaware of the tax lien but knew about the debt. She said she and her husband paid $21,721 of the debt when they filed their taxes Wednesday. The remaining debt, $48,581, covers a tax period ending Dec. 31, 2013, according to the notice.

Harris-Perry said she and her husband had been working to pay off the debt but had to deal with a series of personal crises that caused the couple to pay off the debt a lot slower than expected.

“We were aware that we would continue to need to work to pay off the 2013 debt,” she said in the email.

So lower taxes are bad, right? I mean, if you’re a big success in this country you don’t need a lower tax rate. It would just go to waste because famous people on TV probably just blow all their money on fancy lifestyles anyway. They probably don’t even break a sweat on April 15th because the tax rates are so trivial. Why lower them?


Well, this seems to be a very efficient and clever solution to the conundrum. Taxes need to be higher to punish the successful, but if you happen to be one of those successful people yourself you can solve the problem by… just not paying the taxes to start with. Of course, many people have been accused of not paying their taxes. Some of them falsely so. One example which comes to mind is Mitt Romney, who has admittedly made a significant amount of money over his career, and actually did pay his taxes, but has been accused of paying none. I’m guessing that MHP can feel some sympathy for the Romney family.

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry offered an unreserved and tearful apology on her show Saturday for remarks she made last week about Mitt Romney’s family and his recently adopted African-American grandson.

Harris-Perry came under fire after she and a panel joked about a Romney family photo on a segment called Look Back In Laughter. The panel sang the Sesame Street song “One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others,” while Harris-Perry went on to joke about a future marriage between Romney’s grandson Kieran and Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s daughter North West.

Ms. Harris-Perry has found room in her heart to apologize to people in the past who she has lumped into political “joke” camps and wronged. In this case, perhaps she can find similar sympathy for people who are actually trying to cut tax rates and reduce spending. When the tax man cometh, he doesn’t care much for who he hits. Who knows? This could be another teachable moment for the MSNBC host.


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David Strom 8:30 PM | February 22, 2024
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