Wealthy celebrities including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Quincy Jones and Ted Turner have received federal subsidies, according to “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous,” a new report from the office of Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified several individuals receiving farm payments “whose professions had nothing to do with farming or agricultur[e],” says the report. These individuals include real-estate developer Maurice Wilder, a “part-owner of a professional sports franchise [who] received total of more than $200,000 in farm program payments in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.”
The report also says millionaires Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Ted Turner have collected farm subsidies.
“These individuals include Scottie Pippen and Ted Turner, respectively. Millionaires also receive state tax breaks on farm land. For example, Jon Bon Jovi paid property taxes of only $100 last year on his extensive real estate holdings in New Jersey that he uses to raise bees. At the same time, Bruce Springsteen received farm subsidies because he leases his property to an organic farmer,” the report explains.
The report also notes that in 2009, total “private giving to the arts was $12.34 billion and the federal government spent $1.96 billion on the arts.” The National Endowment for the Arts awarded two $25,000 grants to legendary Grammy award-winning producer Quincy Jones and songwriter Johnny Mandel, whom the NEA “regarded as the top of their respective artistic fields.”
“From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Multi-millionaires are even receiving government checks for not working,” said Sen. Coburn in a statement Monday.
“We should never demonize those who are successful,” Coburn added. “Nor should we pamper them with unnecessary welfare to create an appearance everyone is benefiting from federal programs.”