Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese is back in the spotlight again as the entertainment press cannot seem to let go of his statement that Marvel superhero films “are not movies.” He first made these remarks more than a month ago. Then he clarified his position in an op-ed in The New York Times. But that is not enough for the journalists and critics on the press tour for Scorsese’s latest, The Irishman. They continue to bombard him with the same questions.
While superhero pictures are technically cinema, Scorsese’s lamentations are accurate. To quote Debbie Reynolds from Singin’ in the Rain: “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” They are for kids, they are theme parks, and they contain the same plot and scenes that will be forgotten until the next film about a caped crusader in spandex is released in theaters everywhere. Unlike the iconic projects of Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Ingmar Bergman, or Francis Ford Coppola, they will not leave a lasting impression for years to come.
And you know what? That is okay – it is what the people want, and sometimes there is no accounting for the public’s taste.
One positive thing from all this is that consumers have an abundance of choices out there for their viewing consumption. Thanks to the rise of Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and all the other streaming services, you have access to both new films and series and classic content from decades ago. You can enjoy a Marty Masterpiece, or you can find pleasure in people trying to dismantle a sky-beam for the seventh time in a single year. Plus, because studios want the prestige of Academy Awards, their smaller production houses or distribution outlets will try to deliver the artistic goods.
It is comparable to the shampoo section of your supermarket or pharmacy. You have dozens of different shampoo products available to purchase that are meant to satisfy certain demands. The customer with a budget, the shopper with dandruff, or the individual who craves a certain aroma – all have options. Today’s selection of pictures is eclectic: biographies, superheroes, character studies, and whatever fad is going on, whether it is zombies or teenage vampires.
Biting Fingers, Leg Hair, and Taxes
Well, it looks like former Vice President Joe Biden has taken a break from biting fingers and telling yarns about his leg hair in the pool. He recently issued a public policy proposal involving a new tax on corporations that pay 0% in federal income taxes in an attempt to show off his progressive credibility.
To cover his ten-year, $3.2 trillion spending tab that addresses climate change, health care, and post-secondary education, Biden wants to institute a minimum book tax for the nation’s corporations. According to the scheme, the federal government would apply a 15% levy on book income for companies with an annual income of $100 million. This is anticipated to generate $400 billion over a decade.
Biden was not finished. The Democratic frontrunner wants to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and boost the top tax rate on individuals from 37% to 39.6%. These ideas are projected to add $730 billion and $310 billion, respectively, to government coffers. He also recommends taxing capital gains and dividends as ordinary income for people who make $1 million or more a year, which would raise about $800 billion over the next ten years.
Has the former vice president ever heard of the term capital flight? This is when there is an immense exodus of capital and other financial assets from a country due to a litany of government actions, like higher taxes, currency devaluation, or economic fragility. This is what will happen if corporations, which have the resources and manpower to flee to a friendlier jurisdiction, are slapped with higher penalties.
Perhaps politicians are counting on other countries adopting their own egregious taxes, like Europe’s digital tax. If corporations are not saving money by running away to a low-tax haven, then maybe they’ll stay home and bear the brunt. Or, why not move to Liechtenstein, a country that Reason refers to as a libertarian utopia? Low taxes, small government, and a more hands-off approach by politicians. Imagine an Amazon or Apple headquarters in the tiny European country? That would be historic.
Bags for Life
The war on the plastic bag has been one of the least effective and wasteful environmental crusades in recent memory. Plastic bag taxes are bad economics and bad for the planet – and proponents only seem to care about intentions, not the results.
In 2015, the U.K. implemented a five-pence levy on all plastic bags handed out by retailers. The purpose was to reduce plastic consumption and force consumers and companies to act in a way politicians and bureaucrats deem acceptable. Four years later, how has the plan worked? Not well, according to a new report from Greenpeace and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
The study discovered that supermarkets were using more plastic, despite customers transitioning from thin, disposable plastic bags to “bags for life.” Authors found that these thicker reusable bags surged from 960 million in 2018 to 1.5 billion in 2019, nearly quadruple the amount dispensed in 2014.
Why is this a bad thing? The report concludes that these bags for life contain greater amounts of plastic.
Unfortunately, Greenpeace and the EIA are not recommending abolishing this tax. Instead, they want the government to either hike the levy to 70-pence or ban them. Of course, for freedom-loving folks, the reasonable alternative is to cease intervening in the private decisions of businesses and consumers. Experts agree that these taxes do very little to address ocean plastic pollution. Plus, as Liberty Nation’s Onar Am reports, scientists are discovering that nature could be beginning to take care of the astronomical levels of plastic all on its own.
“…for years, scientists have been puzzled by the discrepancy between the released and measured ocean plastic. More than 98% goes missing every year, causing researchers to wonder where it goes. A new study may have an answer: It is dissolved by the sun.”
So, don’t worry, use a plastic bag for your purchase of a week’s worth of McVities British biscuits.
Leave Me Alone
By now, considering everything we know about the harmful effects of public policy, we would be aware of unintended consequences. In fact, we might as well call them intended consequences because history has shown time and again what will happen with interventionist schemes, whether it is a tax on plastic bags or a tax on capital. Imagine if the government intervened in motion picture production and made Martin Scorsese the czar of moviemaking to achieve his vision of cinema – you would have cronyism, mismanagement, a paucity of choice, and possibly only a small number of films.
Just leave everyone alone.
Read more from Andrew Moran.