Academy award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore told The Daily Caller in an exclusive interview that he wants the United States to enact a 50 percent tax rate for America’s highest-earning taxpayers, but would not donate to the U.S. Treasury himself.
Moore did not deny reports that his net worth exceeds $50 million, but stressed that he uses his money, which he called a “private matter,” to attack the GOP’s position on lower taxes. He told TheDC at Washington, D.C.’s Union Station on Thursday that he does not credit capitalism for his commercial success in the film industry, saying that “socialist countries” have movies too.
Asked by TheDC if he would like to move to another country, given his anti-capitalist leanings, Moore said, “I’m not leaving.”
Watch the exclusive interview:
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A pending bill in Congress called the “Buffet Rule Act,” sponsored by South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune, would give wealthy Americans an opportunity to donate to the U.S. Treasury when they file their income tax returns.
After he told TheDC that he wants a 39 percent tax rate for individuals making over $250,000 per year — and a 50 percent rate “for the upper income [earners] — Moore was asked how much he would personally donate to the Treasury to pay down the national debt.
“Everybody has to do it,” he insisted. “There’s no such thing as, the federal government’s not a charity. We’re all in this together. We all have to pay our fair share and we all have to do it at the same time. There’s no opt-in or opt-out.”
When pressed by TheDC for a more definitive answer, however, Moore declined.
“What I’ve been doing, since I’ve been a beneficiary of the Bush tax cut, is spending as much of that money as I can to defeat Republicans and anybody who supports the Bush tax cuts. So that’s what I do with it, in the hopes that I can advocate to get these taxes raised.”
When asked if his wealth is indeed over $50 million, as some news reports have suggested, Moore said it could be higher.
“Actually I read — $220 million was the highest one I’ve read,” he said, laughing. “I told my website guys we should just keep trying to jack it up. Like, let’s just put an anonymous thing out there that’s it’s really $435 million, something like that.”
Asked if he would “clear the air” and disclose his actual net worth, Moore refused to say.
“I think what people make and what they earn is pretty much a private matter isn’t it?” he countered, “Unless you’re working for the public or a publicly run corporation. You know, I think that’s, you know — I do very well. I do really well. I’m very blessed and very privileged and never thought I would ever have this life, certainly, with a high school education and coming out of Flint, Michigan where I was supposed to be working at a factory.”
Moore also does not attribute the success of his films to America’s capitalist economy, instead he paradoxically credits “the tens of millions of people who buy a ticket to go to my movies.”
“By the way,” he added, “I think they have movies in socialist counties and capitalist countries and all kinds of countries where people go and spend five, ten, twelve dollars — whatever it is — to go watch a movie. And so because I’m blessed, because I get a small percentage of that, I have a responsibility to keep making these movies and keep doing what I do to try and make things better for everybody.”
Moore also told TheDC he’s not interested in moving to another country.
“I refuse to live in a country like this and I’m not leaving,” he said, quoting his last movie, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”
“So, I ain’t the one that’s changing. This has to change. This is my country and I care deeply about it and the people in it.”
The European news agency AFP reported Thursday that among Moore’s stops while in the nation’s capital was the Occupy DC encampment, where he expressed his support for the anti-capitalist activists.