by: R.J. Moeller
Alec Baldwin is one of the most talented actors alive today. I mean it. I am a huge fan. He’s given masterful performances in both action and drama films, and now stars alongside Saturday Night Live alums Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan in the funniest show on television: NBC’s 30 Rock.
But who knew this same multi-talented, uber-liberal guy, the one who famously threatened to move out of the country in 2004 should conservative George W. Bush be re-elected president, was an Adam Smith supply-side economist to-boot?
I guess to be fair to
You see, for many years the state government in
The government in New York, participating in its constitutionally-appointed duty to help facilitate commerce in and among the states, has in the past made the prospect of filming shows and movies in their state more attractive by offering big companies the tradeoff of lower taxes in return for their business. These production companies set up offices in
But just this month, the Wall Street Journal reports, Governor David Patterson, a Democrat, has made a threat of his own, and it is one that appears to be infinitely more serious and important than
In lieu of the state’s gargantuan $7 billion budget deficit, one caused by over-spending and unprecedented levels of corruption, mismanagement, and incompetence within the government, Patterson says that the tax breaks for production companies might soon be one of those “incentives” that will be rescinded.
To this Alec Baldwin rightly, if not ironically, says: Phooey!
“I’m telling you right now,” Mr. Baldwin declared, “if these tax breaks are not re-instated in to the budget, film production in this town [
Bingo, Alec. You not only just made the case for why free markets cannot work in an over-taxed, over-regulated environment, you courageously overcame the typical liberal urge to deny common sense when economics is involved.
This type of person doesn't mean to be misinformed, and their intentions I'm sure are almost always pure. But there is a huge disconnect between what most liberals want liberalism to be and what actually happens when their government taxes and spends like there is no tomorrow.
The realities of life, including complex economies and delicate relations with hostile foreign nations, do not easily lend themselves to the hypothetical ramblings of, for example, someone who gets paid millions of dollars to pretend for a living, like Mr. Baldwin.
For many in
But now the free-range chickens have come home to organically roost.
Despite their voting and legislative practices, liberals consistently show that they know raising taxes on goods or services is a way to discourage that good or service. Take, for example, tobacco. Few products are more heavily scrutinized and taxed than cigarettes. Commercial campaigns led predominantly by liberal groups certainly help to spread the word about the risks involved with smoking. Yet the real way in which most Democrats in most states attack “Big Tobacco” is through higher levels of taxation. When they don’t want something to enjoy success, they tax it.
And here again, in the example of Governor Patterson’s attempt to repeal tax credits for production companies filming in his state, we see through the public statements of a life-long liberal like Alex Baldwin that even he recognizes the devastating effect higher taxes will have on an industry and thousands of jobs. This isn’t rocket science, people. Mr. Baldwin understands it.
The tough truth for prominent liberals to swallow is that free market conservatives and libertarians are not all conniving, selfish money-changers who want decreased levels of taxation and government intervention for their own personal gain. The economy is a complicated, interconnected web of trade and commerce that requires some basic things like voluntary participation (i.e. deciding to work in the movie industry instead of being a banker or teacher) and a largely hands-off relationship with the government (i.e. the opposite of Governor Patterson arbitrarily deciding to punish the movie industry because of his own government’s ineptness).
Sadly, foundational principles of the American economic system, things that seem self-evident to so many of us, are rejected by many who consider themselves Left-of-Center simply because it is free market conservatives or libertarians promoting them these days.
But give even the most ardent Leftist a healthy dose of economic reality, let taxation and over-regulation rob them of the Golden Goose that lays the golden eggs, and you’ll hear impassioned and eloquent defenses of the free market system that would make even old Milton Friedman smile from grave.
I don’t dislike Alec Baldwin. I mean him no disrespect when I call him a liberal. He is entitled to his opinions and positions just as much as anyone else. And, most importantly,
But why does he then vote for, publicly endorse, and financially support the very same party and ideology that proudly promises to continue such economically-crippling, short-sighted policies should they gain more power? Why do so many liberals become enraged when companies move overseas or out of state due to high taxes, but then cheer when their candidates promise to raise taxes and increase regulation on those same companies?
I would simply ask those of you reading this to take time from your busy schedules and learn more about the levels and types of taxation your government levies against you. Stay on top of the spending habits of your mayor, your governor, and certainly your president. All of this information is a matter of public record. Too many Republicans failed to do this while their party was in power six of the last eight years, and that failure to curtail spending (and the growth of the federal government) has helped land us in the tight spot we find ourselves in today.
Support lower levels of taxation and a decrease in government spending and you will see the economy begin to correct itself. This shouldn’t be a Right or Left issue. It’s common sense; something that has served