“You get a car! You get a car!”
Yours truly didn’t understand what that meant because unlike a large segment of America, I’ve never watched a single minute of Oprah Winfrey’s television program. I can’t even tell you the channel, day or time it aired.
But when Oprah gave a speech at the Golden Globe awards, which I also didn’t watch and can’t tell you what channel, day or time it aired, she apparently moved the Hollywood glitterati to near ecstasy. Even the unbiased press (OK, that was a snarky swipe) began to tout Oprah as a natural winner for democrats if she runs for president against Donald Trump in 2020.
Oprah is the embodiment of all things left-wing. She’s a New Ager, a woman raised Christian who now refuses to even debate whether Jesus Christ is mankind’s only Savior, who built a $2.9 billion fortune by pandering to the basest desires of her audience and promising some of the weirdest health and success remedies this side of late night TV commercials.
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As I found out today, the “You get a car!” meme stems from one of Oprah’s most successful schticks. In 2004, she gave all 276 people in her audience a spanking new automobile. “You get a car! You get a car!” she apparently repeated over and over.
Christmas had come early, it seemed. But like so many other leftists’ delusions, there was a cost attached. Do you notice how they never tell you how much their “free” gifts will cost you?
Forbes Magazine reported on the event’s 12-year anniversary: “While General Motors handled the state sales tax on each of the new cars (around $1,800 per car), plus licensing fees, audience members were tasked with paying federal and state income taxes on the value of their new vehicle. To keep things simple, for reporting purposes, General Motors issued forms 1099-MISC to the recipients.”
The bottom line was that those gleeful, squealing 276 folks were stuck paying taxes that averaged about $7,000 per car.
Doubling the unintended pain was the fact that Oprah apparently instructed her staff to stock the audience with people in need of a car. As you might imagine, someone in need of a car, probably is equally in need of $7,000.
Another “free” gift from another leftist with a concealed balloon payment, you might call it. Sort of like the “low cost” health insurance foisted on Americans who have been paying the inflated bill ever since Obamacare became law.
A spokesman for Oprah’s company explained later that the recipients of “free” cars had three choices: keep the car and pay the tax, sell the car and pay the tax, or refuse the car.
Incidentally, the whole rigmarole was a promotional hype for a dying car company’s attempt to stave off bankruptcy with a new model, the Pontiac G-6 Sedan. And that’s why Oprah’s “free gifts” were taxable. They were part of a commercial promotion.
Not long after, Pontiac ceased to be. Do you know anyone who bought a Pontiac G-6? Me either.
But like most unworkable leftist schemes, the free car hoopla got high TV ratings, while bombing in the reality department.
General Motors, which owned Pontiac, paid “state sales taxes on each of the new cars (around $1,800 per car), plus licensing fees,” Forbes reported.
But, as they also are wont to say on late night TV commercials, “that’s not all” recipients received. They received an average bill of $7,000 and/or the privilege of unloading the cars by selling them. Do you think an unpopular car can be sold for its sticker price? Just asking. It certainly was taxed on the sticker price. The easy way out was to reject the gift, which left the recipient exactly where he was before the offer: in need of a car.
While the Left is momentarily aroused by the prospect of billionaire Oprah opposing Trump in 2020, calmer heads already are pointing out its unlikely to happen. If nothing else, she’s a savvy promoter and sooner or later (if not already) has foreseen how ugly a political campaign can become.
Today, Oprah’s brand of New Age nonsense, hucksterism and give-aways are warmly received by the faithful. But in a political campaign they would be revealed to everyone else as the absurdities they are, including the Christ-denying pantheism, snake-oil peddling and the same old empty live-off-someone-else’s largess that defines Democratic Party philosophy.
Her brand would be seriously bruised, she very likely couldn’t win and consequently has nothing to gain. More likely, Oprah will stick to the sidelines where her foolishness will continue to be cheered by the foolish and ignored by most Americans, as she continues pandering to people another carnival barker named P.T. Barnum referred to when he said, one “is born every minute.”
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.