When You Tax Rich People You Get Fewer Of Them


Professional golfer Phil Mickelson is talking about making some drastic changes in his life thanks to both to federal tax hikes and tax increases in his home state of California:

The 42-year-old golfer said he would talk in more detail about his plans – possibly moving away from California or even retiring from golf – before his hometown Farmers Insurance Open, the San Diego-area event that starts Thursday at Torrey Pines.

“I’m not sure what exactly, you know, I’m going to do yet,” Mickelson said. “I’ll probably talk about it more in depth next week. I’m not going to jump the gun, but there are going to be some. There are going to be some drastic changes for me because I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state and, you know, it doesn’t work for me right now. So I’m going to have to make some changes.”

In November, California voters approved Proposition 30, the first statewide tax increase since 2004. Mickelson lives in Rancho Santa Fe.

“If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate’s 62, 63 percent,” Mickelson said. “So I’ve got to make some decisions on what I’m going to do.”

Last year, Mickelson flirted with becoming a part owner of the San Diego Padres, the baseball team that sold for $800 million in August. He was asked Sunday if there was a correlation between the tax increases and what happened to the Padres’ deal.

“Absolutely,” Mickelson said.

There’s speculation as to what Mickelson means by changes, he may be retiring from golf or he may be moving out of California, but either way the message in terms of policy is clear:

If you tax rich people, you get fewer rich people. Not only do they move to more advantageous tax environments (the rich are, after all, very economically mobile) but you also change their behavior. They don’t make the investments they might have made before. They don’t start the businesses. And that hurts all of us.

Meanwhile, according to top Obama adviser David Plouffe, the left’s push for tax hikes at the federal level is far from over. “We are going to require some more revenues,” Plouffe said on “This Week” of any possible budget deal with Republicans.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Kent

    Without question people move for this issue.Higher taxes stagnates everything, home values, business value, everything. And you really don’t have anything more to show for higher taxes. Take Fargo/Moorhead, someone living in Moorhead making $250,000 will pay 17-20K more in state and federal taxes. What do you get for it? Your schools aren’t better, your streets aren’t better. I see quite often, people moving for this reason from the Minnesota side to ND. So take California where you can move to a low tax state like Nevada, the savings are huge.

  • mikemc1970

    The lefts goal isn’t to vanquish the wealthy, at least their ultra wealthy cronies. Their goal is to destroy the moderately wealthy and the entire middle class, so that everyone, except their ultra wealthy cronies and the government class, can live just above the poverty level.

  • Kevin Flanagan

    Those cowardly rich people; don’t they know they are expected to sit still for their retribution?

  • WOOF

    Under a brutal tax system Phil has managed to acquire a net worth
    of $180 million.
    Mickelson will have to fork over an extra $2,274 in tax during 2013
    as the 2% FICA break has lapsed.
    His accountants are advising him to go to to work at the car wash
    rather than walk golf courses hitting little white balls.

    Maybe Phil can stay in the garage of one of Mitt’s houses in a
    no tax state.

    • kent

      If he makes 40 million a year in endorsements, his federal tax on will go up $1,6 million, but the point Rob is making the 3-4 million in California tax that he is paying can be minimized. Again, it goes back to what you get for the money. Does he get better government services for the right to call California home? So why should he pay for them.

      • WOOF

        If it bothers him he can get on his Gulfstream and relocate. No one will stop him.

        • kent

          His golf stream helps generate the income. So he unlike most with a jet can show additional income from the use of it. Get to a tournament rested versus flying a little jet or commercial could mean a million dollar swing in income for the weekend. So million bucks at 45% state and federal, probably a few pecos more than the cost of the jet.

        • jl

          Gee, Woof, that’s what he already said he might do. Thanks for keeping up.

    • headward

      Phil can be a slave to the government for 60% of this earnings. Why do you endorse this slavery on the people?

      • WOOF

        What Phil don’t pay, you will. Phil has tax perks you’ll never see. Like filling the tanks of the Gulfstream on his way to work.

        • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

          The economy is not a fixed pie; new wealth is always being created.

      • ND in MD

        Because, as a democrat, people like Woof want people in slavery, bondage.- not freedom. Whether it was a planation in the old South, a labor union or on government welfare, dems are not happy with people being free – they must be controlled.

        • WOOF

          Don’t cry for Lefty paying taxes. You’re Phils’ lackey.

          Accelerated depreciation, that’s all of an airplanes cost the first year.

          “If you buy a $1 million plane for your business and pay a combined 40%
          federal and state tax rate, the write-off saves you about $400,000 in
          taxes. Another way of looking at it: you’re really only paying $600,000
          for the plane. Uncle Sam picks up the rest of the cost. ” “The Aircraft Exchange currently has 19 Gulfstream Vs on the market at an average price of $21,455,00″

          • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

            How did that work out for Payne Stewart?

          • WOOF

            Got him as far as South Dakota.

    • jl

      Pretty selective about his tax increases, there, Mr low information voter. His federal taxes went up about 4-5% and his California about the same. Funny you just mention the FICA tax.

  • SigFan

    While I’m not a golfer and I am always puzzled by the hero worship and exorbitant earnings of pro sports figures in general, Mickelson is right. No matter how you earn your living if you are one of the “evil rich” Obama and the left have it in for you. Their class-envy knows no bounds and it will result in the wealthy finding friendlier places to live, or simply pulling back and living off what they already have instead of trying to grow and build new businesses and opportunities. And the net result is that the government will ultimately end up with less revenue than they had before – but as is always the case liberalism ALWAYS generates the opposite of it’s stated intent.

  • cylde

    It does not matter how much money he he has, he earned it. Golfers have to travel a lot as pros so it matters little where he hangs his hat, but paying huge amounts of taxes for the same or better services that are provided for much less in other states does not make sense.

  • Matthew Hawkins

    I don’t get his math.

    Assuming all his income is wages or winnings.

    39.6% federal tax and 10.3 California income tax.

    Than as a self employed person he has to pay an additional !5.3% on the next $110k For a person who made $40M this is .04%

    How does this add up to 60%. This doesn’t even take into account that I imagine he has significant capital gains which at worst would be taxed at 22.3%.

    Either he has the worst accountant in history, or he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    BTW, Phil Mickleson is not a job creator, why do I care?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      BTW, Phil Mickleson is not a job creator, why do I care?

      Right. Because I don’t he’s ever hired anyone. Or invested in anything. Or spent any money.

  • VocalYokel

    I would argue that you don’t “get fewer of them” but rather they develop Gerard Depardieu Syndrome.

  • Matthew Hawkins

    I never want to hear Phil Mickleson say he plays for the love of the game again.

    What a fraud.

    • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

      He loves the game, but hates the travel.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Yes, how dare this man try to protect the money he earns from over taxation.

      Of course, if Matthew had the sort of talent it takes to earn millions of dollars per year, he might feel differently.

      It’s always different when it’s your money.