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Government's greed is taxing its citizens

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Phil Mickelson is a professional golfer and a classy guy. He has enormous respect among both fans and his peers on the golf course.

Mickelson generated headlines in the golf world this week when he said the tax rate in California - his longtime home - were so high it might force him to move. Actually he didn't say those exact words but that was the clear message he conveyed.

Mickelson is most certainly a high-income earner. He pockets upwards of $60 million on and off the golf course annually.

But because of his lofty income, Mickelson's tax rate in California is a whopping 63 percent of his total income.

Now granted, for most of us even that tax bite would leave ample income. There is no argument on that point and Mickelson was quick to point out that obvious fact.

But California and New York and other states are so thirsty for additional tax revenue to support a bloated state government that they hope to soak the rich with higher taxes.

New York should have learned that lesson years ago when they hiked their state tax rate and thousands upon thousands of affluent residents hightailed it to Florida or other more tax-friendly states.

As another example, Tiger Woods - you may have heard of him - he, too, is a professional golfer - left California a few years back and set down roots in Florida. On his income, he literally saved himself millions each year in lower state taxes.

Can you blame him? Or Mickelson? Or anyone else for that matter?

The point is that all actions have consequences. Some large, some small.

If state governments or the federal government seeks to balance their books and "level the playing field," then fortunately Americans can vote with their feet and live elsewhere.

There's nothing magical or mystical about that simple fact.

In his inaugural address this week, the President called for even higher taxes on top of the higher taxes he had demanded earlier.

We may all define tax fairness differently depending on our income and our personal situations. But surely a combined tax rate of 63 percent is excessive.

You can make the argument that even with that rate, those high income earners still have it made in the shade.

And they do.

But governments will spend whatever amount of funds they can put into their greedy hands. There is absolutely no limit to the ways that governments can spend money.

Mickelson would much rather discuss his golf game and his charities. He would like to avoid the world of tax discussions.

But through his simple acknowledgement this week that he needs to make a decision based on his family's needs and not the needs of the government, he opened a discussion that is important at this time in our history.

Just how much is needed from the producers to take care of the needs of the non-producers?



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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen