New Buffet Rule Fan: Will Smith

New Buffet Rule Fan: Will Smith
By Mark Hirschey (Work of Mark Hirschey) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

New Buffet Rule Fan: Will Smith

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Joining a growing list, Will Smith recently jumped on the bandwagon and proclaimed himself a fan of the Buffet Rule. Yes, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fans, Smith is a wealthy man who would like to be taxed more.

What? In an AP article, Smith said he was “very supportive” of the Buffett Rule. He added, “America has been fantastic to me. I have no problem paying whatever I need to pay to keep my country growing.”

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And just how much money does Smith make? According to Vanity Fair, the actor had an estimated $20 million payday from his Men in Black III movie.

But what is the Buffet Rule? This is the proposal by President Obama and Democrats which had everyone who earns $1 million per year or greater  paying a minimum of 30 percent of their income in taxes. One research group has estimated this change could hit around 210,000 taxpayers.

The rule was inspired by billionaire Warren Buffet who raised the idea of increasing taxes on the rich after he wrote his widely referenced August New York Times op-ed that disclosed his tax rate was lower than his secretary’s. The proposal has received additional support from the majority of Americans, according to an April Gallup poll.

But for now, the proposal won’t be moving forward. Last month, it did not pass a partisan Senate vote and was blocked 51-45 in a filibuster vote. Two politicians crossed their party lines in the vote: Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said at the time of the vote, “The wealthiest one percent takes home the highest share of the nation’s income since the early ’20s, the roaring ’20s. Times are tough for many middle class American families. Millionaires and billionaires aren’t sharing the pain or the sacrifice, not one bit. Last year there were 7,000 millionaires who didn’t pay a single penny in federal income taxes.”

If the rule had gone through, millionaires would have been taxed at higher minimum rates of up to 30 percent.

Additional Support from the Wealthy

Smith isn’t the first wealthy celebrity to show his support for this proposal.

According to Huffington Post, hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson, Daphne Foundation founder Abigail Disney and Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons are also fans. Similar to Buffett, Tilson also said  he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary. Simmons, whose net worth is greater than $300 million, said last year that he sends a smaller share of his income to the tax collector as compared to all of his employees.

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