Monday, February 09, 2015

Sympathy for the celebrity who breaks the law

I happen to have a few people in my family who love to read about celebrities. You know, People Magazine, Us Magazine and the like. It's all entertainment and if I find mention of a star that I happen to like, I might be curious myself. So yesterday, I took notice in Us Magazine as it was laying on a table in my house. The cover story on December 15, 2014? "Teresa's Last Christmas".

One of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Teresa Guidice and her husband Joe, are both going to prison, one at a time to ensure that there is at least one parent at home for their kids. Teresa will do 15 months. Joe, 41 months. What did they do? They lied about their means and income on a loan application. Then they lied about their growing income to the IRS. Here are a couple living large in the top 1% and they have to lie and cheat to get there and stay there.

How anyone can find sympathy for their predicament is beyond me, much less writing article after article about them with huge dollops of sympathy for them. Yes, they have kids and yes they are celebrities, but as Time magazine notes in their article, it's not readily apparent where all of their income sources rest.

When they get out of prison, they will still have plenty of money. They will still be able enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. And they might even cash in on a book should they choose to write one, about their experience in prison.

Time Magazine also notes that the Giudices aren't the only stars in legal trouble. The Guidices are probably just the tip of the iceberg. Given recent cuts to the budget at the IRS, although there have been a few headliners going to jail, there are many more that won't be caught because the resources aren't there. Attorneys cost money, even for the IRS.

Hey, but that's cool if you're a Tea Party Republican in Congress. More money for your campaigns, right? If the IRS shuts down, that's OK, even if millions of middle class citizens have to wait to get their refunds. At least we can all rest assured that the minority of the wealthy who need to lie and cheat to get their money can keep it without worry of going to prison.

If the IRS is underfunded or shuts down, we're going to look a lot like Greece if we're not careful. But at least we'll have something to watch on TV.
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