Oh, but wait! That's not so! A spokesman for Bon Jovi issued a statement. "Jon is scrupulous about paying his fair share of taxes. The exemption for raising honeybees existed long before he purchased that land, and he continues to employ a beekeeper and raise honeybees." New York state requires landowners sell $10,000 in goods for the farming exemption, while New Jersey allows "fake farmers" and only requires $500 in sales.
As Mattera maintains, no conservative begrudges people lowering their tax burden by taking advantage of every tax break that's legally available to them. But when you hit the campaign trail for Democrats and lament how millionaires don't pay their fair share of the "social contract," then you should expect to be exposed as a political hypocrite and a fraud when this is precisely what you're doing.
Musical activists are often honored far out of their actual power to move charitable mountains.
Mattera mocks the rock star Paul "Bono" Hewson as more lauded than the pope. He was honored as a Time "Person of the Year" and was smooched on another Time cover with the question "Can Bono Save the World?" Bono proclaimed, "in the end, you've got to become the change you want to see in the world."
But Bono's not very effective with his "change." The New York Post reported Bono's ONE nonprofit took in $14,993,873 in public donations in 2008. Of that, $184,732 was distributed to three charities, according to the IRS filing. Meanwhile, more than $8 million was spent on executive and employee salaries. They defended themselves by saying they're an "advocacy and campaigning organization," not an actual provider of help to the poor.
That's not the only embarrassing Bono organization. He was also behind a Product (RED) campaign that Advertising Age reported had spent in its first year up to $100 million in marketing expenses and brought in only $18 million in donations.
Then there's the matter of taxes. Bono's estimated worth exceeds $900 million, but when Ireland moved to put a ceiling on "tax-free artist incomes," suddenly Bono's band U2 "headed for the proverbial hills in Holland to set up corporate shop," Mattera reports, cutting its taxes in half. Their manager proclaimed, "Like any other business, U2 operates in a tax-efficient manner."
It's too bad these rock stars can't spare us the lectures about the glaring need for the redistribution of wealth. Until they've lived up to their own poverty preaching, they should just unplug the guitars and shut up.