This might seem counterintuitive. After all, Hollywood is run by corporations. Comcast and GE own NBC, the History Channel, A&E, the Biography Channel, Bravo, USA Network, SyFy, Oxygen, Chiller, Hallmark, Sundance, and Telemundo. It also owns Universal Television and Universal Studios. Time Warner owns CNN, HBO, Cinemax, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, Turner Classic Movies, and CW, as well as Warner Bros. Walt Disney Company owns ABC and its spinoffs, as well as equity in several other channels; its production companies include Touchstone, Miramax, and Marvel Studios. News Corp. owns Fox, FX, National Geographic, and a large chunk of DirecTV. CBS Corp. owns Showtime, CBS Television Studios, and The Movie Channel. And Viacom owns Paramount, MTV, Nickelodeon, and United International Pictures, among others.
Virtually everybody in Hollywood works for a corporation. But when it comes time to pick a villain, the corporation is the obvious choice. When I once suggested to my agent that I write a script targeting a politician as a villain, the agent said that might not fly in today’s polarized political environment – why not try targeting a corporation instead?
The predictable effect of the anti-corporate nonsense spewed by Hollywood is to make Americans think that all corporations are evil. After a line of films ranging from A Civil Action to The Muppet Movie, from Alien to Avatar, it’s no surprise that Americans don’t want to see corporations spending money on politics, don’t care about higher corporate taxes, and trust corporations less than virtually any other institution in American life.
According to a Demos poll from this year, 84 percent of Americans think that corporate political spending “drowns out the voices of average Americans,” and 83 percent think that “corporations and corporate CEOs have too much political power and influence.” Never mind that corporations and corporate CEOs provide virtually all employment in the country. Never mind that corporations and corporate CEOs spend political money only because labor unions have been dumping vast waves of cash into politics for decades. It’s those evil CEOs who are a problem.
As for raising taxes, Americans approve of the idea by wide margins. A recent Gallup poll showed that 67 percent of Americans thought that corporations paid too little in taxes, even though America’s corporate tax rates is the highest in the industrialized world. Our business tax rate is a full 35 percent; put state taxes on top of that, and we’re at almost 40 percent. The worldwide average is 25 percent. Russia and China clock in lower than we do.