A familiar paradox about leftist celebrities in the entertainment industry is that their embrace of progressivism almost never includes a wholehearted embrace of progressive taxation, i.e., the principle that the richer you get, the larger the percentage of your income you ought to pay in taxes.
The latest example is U2′s Bono, a committed and unusually sophisticated anti-poverty crusader, who is taking surprisingly little heat for the decision by his band, U2, to relocate its music-publishing business from Ireland to the Netherlands in order to shelter its songwriting royalties from taxation.
The difference in taxation regimes is worth millions to Bono and his bandmates:
After Ireland said it would scrap a break that lets musicians and artists avoid paying taxes on royalties, Bono and his U2 bandmates earlier this year moved their music publishing company to the Netherlands. The Dublin group, which Forbes estimates earned $110 million in 2005, will pay about 5 percent tax on their royalties, less than half the Irish rate.
But, just as there is with pretty much every legal and policy issue, there’s a counterargument. Check out some of the comments over at TaxProf Blog:
“The fallacy in the argument that Bono is a hypocrite for avoiding Irish income taxes is the assumption that the Irish government can do more good with the money than Bono can.”
“The subtext — political progressives should leave tax dollars on the table, rather than take advantage of planning opportunities?”
Okay, that’s more than enough substance for an ATL post. Did we tell you about our Bono sighting in New York a few weeks ago? It was the highlight of the hour-and-a-half we spent waiting for a table at The Spotted Pig (which was shorter than the two-hour wait we were quoted, and worth it).
Bono, of course, did not have to wait for a table. And we’re fine with that. We love celebrities!!!
Bono, Tax Avoider [Slate]
Slate: Bono, Tax Avoider; The Hypocrisy of U2 [TaxProf Blog]
Bono, Preacher on Poverty, Tarnishes Halo With Irish Tax Move [Bloomberg]