When liberals put their minds to it they can understand that lowering taxes promotes desired economic activity, and that lowering taxes even for very wealthy people has a benefit for many lower-income people. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is expert at playing the class warfare game, just introduced a measure to give a huge tax break to producers of Broadway and off-Broadway shows. No, really:
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer’s proposal would allow 100 percent of any live theater investment to be deducted up to $15 million per production, whether the eventual show is a hit or a flop, a benefit that is currently being granted to film and TV projects.
“Investing in Broadway and live theater is often a big risk. It’s difficult to get banks and financial institutions to back up these productions,” Schumer said. His amendment, he added, “will put Broadway and live theater on the same footing as TV and film.”
Schumer said the change would create “thousands and thousands” more jobs for actors and backstage workers, and produce more shows nationwide, giving a shot in the arm to the hotel, restaurant and taxi industries. He noted that other countries also grant live theater similar breaks.
And stars like Neil Patrick Harris, Bryan Cranston and Tyne Daly came out to push for the measure. Oh, and producer and big Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein was there, too. (I wonder if Weinstein’s secretary pays taxes at a higher marginal rate than he does.)
Hmm. Aren’t the producers of Broadway shows hugely rich individuals and big theater companies? I mean we are talking about Disney, the Nederlanders, Live Nation, the Shubert organization, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Scott Rudin and other entertainment leviathans, right? Well, yes, but Democrats would say this really isn’t for them, but for the economic boost it is going to give to people far and wide. (“The backers of the change pointed out that the benefits go far beyond New York. In the 2008-2009 theater season — the most recent year for which data is available — some 40 touring Broadway shows performed in 192 venues to more than 13 million theater-goers, contributing almost $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy.”)
So it is just other lawmakers’ constituents and their economic enterprises that should have their taxes raised, I suppose. And it is just the Republicans’ millionaires who manipulate the political system to their advantage. I don’t begrudge the Democrats their constituent “service,” nor do I really object to tax reductions to spur economic activity. (And I love live theater, so let’s not miss the opportunity to subsidize the next over-produced, forgettable musical with no tunes you can recall five minutes after you leave the theater.) What is objectionable is the liberals’ sheer hypocrisy and the refusal to apply their tax principles to others — the folks really off-off-Broadway.