Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Should we tax Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton?

UPDATE: Kardashian Kollection “Kaught” For Using Sweatshop Labor in China

After drawing the ire of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for wearing fur, Kim and her reality TV clan are now under fire from a human-rights watchdog group for hawking products allegedly made with slave labor. In order to bring their K-Dash by Kardashian, Kris Jenner Kollection, and ShoeDazzle labels to market, sweatshop workers in China’s Guangdong province—some as young as 16—were said to have labored for 84 hours over a seven-day work week to help Kim and kompany rake in $65 million in profits last year. The workers, in contrast, received a mere $1 an hour for their efforts, making as little as $15 a month after food and rent. Talk about economic inequality! See www.BoycottKim.Com

Fortune has long conferred fame. But recently, our obsession with the fabulously wealthy has spawned a new breed of celebrity: the beautiful and stylish billionaire heiresses. Sometimes called "celebutantes," these much-photographed trendsetters sit front row at fashion shows, take the most spectacular vacations, frequent the hippest nightclubs and regularly land in the tabloids.

The best-known celebutante is Paris Hilton, who is the gold standard, flaunting her Hilton hotel dollars with aplomb on her Simple Life reality show. Great-granddaughter of the hotel chain's founder, Conrad Hilton, she has managed to upstage the family's hotels with her regular appearances in the celebrity gossip rags and occasional stints as an actress and singer.

Some will eventually inherit much bigger fortunes than others, but none are hurting financially. Twenty-two year-old Amanda Hearst's (William Randolph Hearst, Patty Hearst, etc.) reported yearly maintenance costs match that of the annual salaries of many top CEOs.

Paris Hilton earned an estimated $7 million in the past year by attaching her name to a perfume, watches, nightclubs and a new videogame.

But society pages will always be rife with those who are content to let daddy, or maybe a butler, slip the shoe on for them. (Read my post about generation-skipping estate taxes and gift taxes.)

And then there's Kim Kardashian.

A California activist group, the Courage Campaign, is asking television reality stars like Kim Kardashian to endorse the Millionaire's Tax of 2012. An endorsement from Kardashian would be big news, in light of her celebrity status, which is particularly high among younger people and Internet users.

The tax would raise $6 billion for the state and would allow the state to maintain vital services. The proposal was written after significant feedback from citizens.

In 2010, Ms. Kardashian made $12 million in comparison to what average citizens earn -- about $47,000. Surprisingly, Ms. Kardashian only pays a 9.3 percent tax rate. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich says, "That's lower than the tax rates of most day laborers and child-care workers."

From the Courage Campaign's press release:

In a playful, yet targeted way, the Courage Campaign is wondering if Ms. Kardashian -- who proudly boasts three separate closets for shoes, including one of her favorites, a pair of $2,500 Christian Louboutin lace and python booties -- would support asking millionaires to pay a little bit more in taxes, especially at a time when budget cuts are decimating schools and critical programs for children and the elderly.

"We love Ms. Kardashian's sense of style and we know she gets lots of attention," said Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the 750,000 member Courage Campaign. "Now we want to catch her eye and ask her if she'll support our tax proposal which asks the rich to pay their fair share in our state. Why not? After all, California's middle class continues to suffer from endless budget cuts, and we hope to catch Ms. Kardashian in the holiday spirit."

The Courage Campaign is a member of the Restoring California Coalition. Check out their website, - it is a broad coalition of educators, unions and community groups looking to restore critical funding to schools and universities, essential services for seniors, and public safety, as well as start rebuilding the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. It asks the wealthiest Californians -- people who earn over a million dollars per year -- to help pay their fair share to rebuild the state.

According to a recent statewide poll, if the November 2012 elections were held today, 67% of voters would vote YES to support the "Millionaires Tax to Restore Funding to Essential Services of 2012."

Those that are interested can sign a petition asking Kim Kardashian to support the tax.

This blogger says that it's either a "millionaires tax" for people like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, or tax their incomes from annuities, trust funds, gifts, dividends, estates, and capital gains as REGULAR INCOME, and tax them according their marginal federal income tax brackets. Stop taxing them at a lower rate than those receiving unemployment checks.

Read: Kim Kardashian is keeping the $2 million 20.5 carat diamond engagement ring.

Read: Kim Kardashian Pays BIG MONEY for Liz Taylor's Bracelets

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  1. See Paris Hilton's $325,000 dog house!

    Her $5.9 million mansion.,,20055262,00.html

  2. See Kim Kardashian's $4.8 million mansion.

  3. Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan, Jason Bourne, etc.) says, "I really don't mind paying more taxes. Look at what you get for it: you get to be an American."

  4. From the Wall Street Journal: "Taxing Kim Kardashian"

    Referring to that blogger that hypothesizes "...if Ms. Kardashian responded to the millionaires tax by relocating..." - - No, she won't move away from Beverly Hills, nor to China. Her and Paris Hilton will just pay the higher tax.

    The article also states "every last dime from Ms. Kardashian and those who share her tax bracket, it still wouldn't fix California's troubles." - - No, not immediately, but over time it would help. If Warren Buffett wrote a check to pay more taxes, that wouldn't help either. But if all billionaires were taxed on their capital gains as "regular income" according to their tax bracket, that would help very much. It took ten years of Bush's historically low tax cuts to put us in the hole we have now, and will take another ten years with higher tax rates to dig ourselves out.

    The article also claims that the Democrats/LEFT/Progressives think that "millionaires have more than they should", which is not true. But if billionaires just hoarded the money supply instead of investing in things that actually creates jobs, then why call them "job creators"? How many jobs to these wealthy heiresses create? Or Warren Buffett for that matter?

    Today we have some of the lowest tax rates in U.S. history, yet the Republicans and Tea Party have kept falsely claiming otherwise, saying we are over-taxed...when just the opposite is true.

    Since 1950 our population has doubled, while government (people) continues to grow, corporate tax rates, the capital gains tax rates, and the top income tax rates have been steadily in decline for decades.

  5. Inside Kim Kardashian's glamorous Christmas party with her family