THE FIVE

Will Smith's tax epiphany

Hollywood star not 'jiggy' with idea of paying 75 percent in taxes

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," May 18, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Robin Hood is a beloved character for movie-makers, appearing in countless films and TV series. But what if he were real? Well, U.N. human rights experts have donned the funny hat and tights as they push for a financial transaction tax, dubbed a Robin Hood tax so taxes rich nations to pay the poor ones for all sort of stuff.

Of course, advocacy groups love it. And whenever they want something, they firmly believe you should pay for it.

Now, taking advice from U.N. on human rights is like asking Dana to grab something from a high shelf. It's just not possible. She is short.

But still, it plays well for people who love the noble rhetoric, but can't balance a checkbook, meaning the celebrities. Celebrities love these ideas as long as they aren't affected by them.

Take Will Smith who showed up on French TV talking taxes. Remember, last week, Smith said he supports the Buffett Rule and taxing the rich more. But even he has limits, after hearing that France's new president might raise the rate to 75 percent. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL SMITH, RAPPER/ACTOR: I'm a black man who didn't go to college, yet I get to travel around the world and sell my movies and I believe very firmly that America is the only place on Earth that I could exist. So I will pay anything that I can pay to pay the country back.

Seventy-five? Yes, that's different. Seventy-five, well, you know, God bless America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUTFELD: Yes, tax them too. That was painful.

But there is, a celebrity having a genuine epiphany on live TV. You don't see that often. It's like a young man looking at his first pay stub and seeing the government bite. Lovely for most celebrities, they make so much money it doesn't matter, which is why Robin Hood is their hero -- as long as he only robs from you.

Andrea, I know you're a fan of him.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: Oh, yes.

GUTFELD: Isn't he adorable?

(CROSSTALK)

GUTFELD: Will Smith. It's neat how he suddenly discovers that the world is different?

TANTAROS: Yes. I would love watching that. And I would like to encourage Mr. Will Smith to live in Paris, or like in France, as I did, so I can make fun of Frenchies a little bit, because I speak French. That was funny when he realized the number 75.

Because Will Smith would have never been able to be Will Smith in France. Now, there are French celebrities. Crepes are very great. Taxes in France, not great there.

The unemployment system, the number in France, not great. The job market, not great in France. The healthcare in France, not great.

He never could have been gone from the fresh prince of Bel Air to where he is now. And so --

GUTFELD: He admits that, though. He actually says that, that America is a great place. I'm willing to shovel more money into the system, which is where I disagree with him, is that I don't think the government owes all that gratitude. I think it's his own initiative, an individual.

LESLIE MARSHALL, GUEST CO-HOST: I'm very confused. I know I'm sitting in for Bob. I'm looking outside and I'm seeing New York around me. Are we in France? Are we suggesting we have 75 percent tax? No. We are in the United States.

TANTAROS: It gets pretty close.

(CROSSTALK)

MARSHALL: I live in Los Angeles. California is tough. But he is talking about 30 percent. We're talking about 30 percent in the United States. Not 75 percent.

He's talking about how great our nation is. We're not proposing what France is proposing. This is definitely --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTFELD: That's a good point, though. What are they proposing?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: They are trying to propose 40 percent, to 39.5 percent. They're trying to raise the capital gains tax.

We're trying to become close to socialist France as possible. It's not working in Europe. The reason why they're talking about 75 percent is because the socialist just elected the president of France, Francois Hollande.

MARSHALL: Hollande.

BOLLING: And so, do more of what's not working. Meanwhile, we're trying to emulate that -- raise taxes, redistribute wealth. Why are we doing that?

Look at California. California is practically France.

MARSHALL: No!

BOLLING: Am I kidding? Am I wrong? Where am I wrong?

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: We outlawed foie gras of July.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Well, interestingly, people are fleeing California because of the taxes there and they are moving to other states. That is true also of -- believe it or not, people are -- Greg, you live in the U.K. -- people are trying to leave France in order to live in the U.K. because the tax burden is not as bad.

GUTFELD: That's like going to England to get your teeth fixed.

PERINO: Right, exactly -- which you did.

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: But can we talk about the Robin Hood thing for just a moment?

GUTFELD: No.

PERINO: There's a G8 meeting today. So, all the groups want to go. See, this is evolution, something they tried in the 1990s and the first part of the new century, which is they wanted the rich countries to pay for the climate change harm to the smaller countries. When that all fell apart, now they're going to go after the banks.

See, they just -- whatever it is, whatever the going thing is, that's what they glob on to. And they won't get it. When they wanted the Global AIDS Fund, President Bush waited for six months and said, did anybody else put any money in? Not a single country put money in not until we did.

BOLLING: Let me just throw the number out there, the number that that would raise is one half of 1 percent of transactions, is $365 billion year, born mostly, good percentage of it by Americans and our trading partners.

PERINO: And to pay for what? Like I actually support foreign aid. I support private sector efforts as well. But a lot of this money is very mismanaged and it just goes into the dictator's --

TANTAROS: There's something like that here in New York state called the stock transfer tax. And even though they collect it, they rebate it because they know if they didn't, people would leave, like they're going to do in France. There's not enough millionaires in France for them to tax to pay for this budget.

GUTFELD: Yes.

TANTAROS: So, I don't know what they're thinking -- what does that say? There's not enough millionaires? There's not even rich people.

MARSHALL: When you're talking about less than half of 1 percent for Wall Street, there are people on the left and the right who are very -- myself included -- very opposed to the bail-out, sorry. It's pay-back. The banks can afford that.

PERINO: To pay for what?

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: What are you buying for? But I think that's the problem. What do you get for that money? That is where people are rejecting. They might be willing to pay for more if there is reform but there's not. You get Solyndra and all the others.

GUTFELD: OK. On that note, I'm glad you brought up Solyndra.

PERINO: You keep cutting me --

GUTFELD: I'm sorry. They're yelling in my ear, Dana.

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