Update – Dec. 7, 11:03pm ET: In an exclusive interview on MSNBC’s The Last Word, Star Trek actor George Takei discussed his “Tax Me, Please” blog post asking Congress to higher taxes on the top 2% in order to avoid the looming fiscal cliff. Takei argued on the show:
“And those republicans can’t seem to get it. They are so bullheadly wedded to their dogmatic philosophy,. We need to raise taxes in order to meet this crisis – the fiscal cliff. They’d rather plunge down that cliff and plunge us into another economic catastrophe because the sequester’s going to cancel all the military contracts that we have and that means unemployment for many, many years ahead. And all it takes is everyone rallying together and sacrificing just a tiny bit. Going back to what we enjoyed during the Clinton years – higher taxes but great prosperity. Lots of jobs being created. The Republican position of cutting taxes, trickle-down philosophy of creating jobs has never proved to be true. With the middle class maintaining the tax cuts, they’re going to be spending money, creating jobs, retail sales is going to go up. So it’s to me absolutely baffling that the Republicans don’t get it.”
George Takei originally gained fame for portraying Mr. Sulu, the helmsman of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek; but in more recent years, he’s become equally famous for his presence on Facebook, with over three million followers who flock to his daily comedic posts. But the actor and internet star posted something more serious today: his thoughts on the looming fiscal cliff.
In a blog post titled “Tax Me, Please,” Takei issued a plea to lawmakers:
In the coming weeks, Congress and the President must come to an agreement on taxes and spending, or face the dreaded “fiscal cliff” no one wants to jump off. I’m just one citizen, but here’s what I have to say for what it’s worth: Tax me higher.
I didn’t grow up wealthy. In fact, when I was a little boy, the government took everything away from my family and shipped us off to an internment camp. Years later, when we returned to Los Angeles, we had to scrape our way up from nothing, living on skid row and saving our money, until my parents could start up a cleaning business and move us slowly and steadily back into a middle class lifestyle. I know what it’s like to be dirt poor, and to struggle to make it in this country.
But as an actor today, I enjoy a lifestyle my parents probably never dreamed of. Despite how this country has at times misstepped and mistreated us, I love America and believe in her promise of providing equal opportunity for all. I want to see her back on top. That is why I feel it is not only fair, but my patriotic duty to support higher taxes on the top 2% percent of incomes.
During the first few years of the George W. Bush era, when there was still a surplus, they cut these taxes a few percentage points. These marginal tax rate cuts were never meant to be permanent; none of us who got them expected them to be. We always knew they’d one day return to the levels they were during the Clinton era. To suggest that we now shouldn’t give them up is silly, especially in a time where we are facing huge deficits and a looming “fiscal cliff.”
I don’t want to go off that cliff. So Congress, roll up your sleeves, compromise if you must, but don’t start from the position that my taxes can’t go up. They must, and they should.