Michael Moore: Me and My Millions


Michael Moore, who came under heavy fire for marching with the 99 percent without admitting that he is among the 1 percent, finally blogged a mea culpa yesterday that is all "mea" and no "culpa." He describes in rather minute detail what he did with the $3 million he made when he sold the rights of Roger & Me to Warner Bros.

 He says:

1. I would first pay all my taxes. I told the guy who did my 1040 not to declare any deductions other than the mortgage and to pay the full federal, state and city tax rate. I proudly contributed nearly 1 million dollars for the privilege of being a citizen of this great country.

2. Of the remaining $2 million, I decided to divide it up the way I once heard the folksinger/activist Harry Chapin tell me how he lived: "One for me, one for the other guy." So I took half the money—$1 million—and established a foundation to give it all away.

3. The remaining million went like this: I paid off all my debts, paid off the debts of some friends and family members, bought my parents a new refrigerator, set up college funds for our nieces and nephews, helped rebuild a black church that had been burned down in Flint, gave out a thousand turkeys at Thanksgiving, bought filmmaking equipment to send to the Vietnamese (my own personal reparations for a country we had ravaged), annually bought 10,000 toys to give to Toys for Tots at Christmas, got myself a new American-made Honda, and took out a mortgage on an apartment above a Baby Gap in New York City.

4. What remained went into a simple, low-interest savings account. I made the decision that I would never buy a share of stock (I didn't understand the casino known as the New York Stock Exchange and I did not believe in investing in a system I did not agree with).

Assuming that there is more truth in Moore's tale than in his "documentaries," boasting about passing out one thousand turkeys for Thanksgiving 22 years ago is impressively tacky, even for Moore. When was the last time Bill Gates gave a laundry list of all of his charitable giving?

But here are my questions for Moore:

One, what exactly is an "American made Honda"? Is it the same as the Japanese transplant that is allegedly  throwing thousands of UAW employees out of work in your hometown?

Two, do you really believe that buying Manhattan real estate instead of shares is opting out of the capitalist system? Who do you think finances your mortgage? A Marxist tooth fairy?

Three, what have you done with the millions that you earned from your subsequent ventures, including your little valentine to Castro's health care system?

Update: Looks like Moore might have been less than truthful in his paean about himself. (Surprise! Surprise!) He claims that he made a decision in 1989 to never buy "a share of stock." But apparently that pledge did not apply to a trust fund that he created and controls along with his wife. Hoover's Peter Schweizer reported in his 2005 bestseller, Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, that the fund actually invests in a whole host of evil corporations such as: Pfizer, Merck, Genzyme, Elan PLC, Eli Lilly, Becton Dickinson, Boston Scientific, Sunoco, Noble Energy, Schlumberger, Williams Companies, Transocean Sedco Forex, Anadarko, Ford, General Electric, AOL Time Warner, Honeywell, Boeing Loral and even the crown prince of all evil: Haliburton.

Michael Moore hotly denied Schweizer's charges, to which Schweizer responded here.

Thanks to all the readers who pointed this out. And a free Reason t-shirt and one-year subscription of Reason magazine to anyone who can debunk Moore's claim that he actually paid a 33 percent effective tax rate without claiming any deductions other than his mortgage in 1989.