Before President Obama outlined his strategy Monday for America's millionaires to shoulder more of the tax burden, The Price of Fame asked show business types at the recent Toronto International Film Festival the burning question:
Should celebrities and other wealthy people pay more in taxes?
Ethan Hawke (pictured, above), actor, author and playwright: "Yes, and I think that rich people who try to get out of it are the most revolting to me." Hawke, who stars as a writer beguiled by a dangerous muse in The Woman in the Fifth,
said some of the privileged have forsaken the common good. "Paying taxes is the greatest luxury in my life," he said. "I find it revolting that people would make $100 million and that they should pay the same amount of taxes."
Analeigh Tipton (right), the America's Next Top Model cat-walker who played the babysitter with a crush in Crazy, Stupid Love and now stars in Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress: "Yes, I do. There's a lot of money that goes around. I know I'm doing something I love and I get paid where I feel guilty. Again, I can't be the only one in Hollywood that doesn't need [stuff], and especially these days."
(right), writer, director and star of the rock 'n' roll road movie The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best: "If you have a whole bunch of money, yeah, you should pay a little more because it comes from the community. As a community and fellow human beings, we all enjoy the same country. If you make a product that sells so much that you have so much money, that's because so many people purchased your product. It's all cyclical."
Michael Weston, from the movies Dukes of Hazzard and Garden State, and TV's House, M.D., also took a broader philosophical approach: "I feel like that even our deepest human ambitions are about connecting. The more we forget that and sort of isolate ourselves from that, from each other, the easier it is to close off our community. The more we can include each other and remember that we're all part of the same package, then I think we can solve so many of these problems." We'll take that as a yes.
(right) of Band Camp, John Tucker Must Die and The Grudge 2: "I don't think I as an individual can solve the debt crisis, but I'm a big believer in the energy in which you put intention goes a long way, and I think that will help others find an answer together."
In fact, The Price of Fame couldn't find any stars of the silver screen who didn't approve of paying a bit more of that silver to help balance the U.S. budget.
The above have super-supportive company in super-rich Warren Buffett. He has repeatedly said it's about time he and the rest of the nation's fully loaded assume more of the tax tab, explaining that loopholes allowed him to pay taxes at a lower rate than his secretary. The Oracle of Omaha's declaration led to part of Obama's proposal being labeled "the Buffett Rule."
Of course, the administration's plan to levy $1.5 trillion in additional taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations over the next 10 years isn't a smash hit. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said tax hikes on the rich will choke off employment opportunities. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, described the proposal as "class warfare."
In showbiz, they call that mixed reviews.