Thursday, February 15, 2007

Why I Like Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton pays Social Security taxes.

I find that remarkable, as indicated by the fact that I am remarking upon it. Although she has become the poster child for Spoiled Rich Bitch, Paris Hilton is, in fact, actually one of the few working, productive, members of her social class. Never having met her, I can't say whether or not her bimbo air-head slut act is real or just a public persona, but I don't really care all that much. What I do know is that she is paid for actual labor, and must pay Social Security and income taxes on her wages. My mother currently collects Social Security benefits, so in a very real way, Paris Hilton is paying money to my mother. I like that. Sending money to my mother is a good thing.

Yet, when attacking the moratorium on estate taxes (and the drive to make them permanent, so as to secure the creation of an hereditary moneyed aristocrasy), various pundits refer to it as the "Paris Hilton Benefit Tax Cut." Yet there she is, the hardest working model/actress/reality TV star since Tyra Banks. Why not go after the more egregious offenders, the ones who really do nothing but party and cash trust fund checks? Or worse, the ones who use their inherited wealth to fund think tanks devoted to explaining why inherited wealth is a well-deserved reward for being so innately superior to the common man?

But the eggregious examples are the "Top, Out-of-Sight Class" to use Paul Fussel's phrase for it. Most members of that class recognize that, if people ever really got wind of who they are and how they lived, the good times might cease, either through private enterprise (i.e. individual criminal behavior, like kidnapping), or public policy (oh, I don't know, maybe higher estate taxes?).

God forbid we should have a "death tax," though no one has ever explained to me why it's better to tax a living worker than a dead rich guy. It's not like the dead guy needs the money any more. Maybe it's just that labor is so intrisically inferior to accident of birth.

Yes, of course, the taxes are actually on the heirs. (Then why call it a "death tax?" For propaganda purposes, that's why.). So why not simply put a tax on heirs? Give it a sizeable deduction: you can inherit an untaxed $20 million during your lifetime, but after that, it's 75% to taxes. You have a billion dollars? Either find 50 people to inherit it, or pay a lot of taxes. You want to inherit a billion dollars, then you'd better inherit from someone with 4 billion. And that's not $20 million per inheritance, that's $20 million total, per person. You can't get $20 million from 50 people to get your billion, the high rate kicks in when the heir hits $20 million, no matter how many sources.

Now $20 million is probably a bit less than Paris Hilton stands to inherit, but I'm not worried. She looks like she's having fun as it is. And if she somehow screws it all up and winds up penniless in her old age, she's always have Social Security. That is, unless someone manages to kill it under the guise of "reform."


Arnaud said...

"Although she has become the poster child for Spoiled Rich Bitch, Paris Hilton is, in fact, actually one of the few working, productive, members of her social class."
Nope! I'm afraid that would be George W Bush...

James Killus said...

I would direct you to my recent post:

There is a difference between "crative destruction" and simple destruction.