On Monday news broke that golfer Phil Mickelson, who lives in the extreme tax state of California, is unhappy with having to pay about 62% of his annual income to the government. Mickelson said “”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. So I’ve got to make some decisions on what I’m going to do.” That’s after California passed what amounts to a plunder tax on millionaires last year, retroactively hiking the rates on high earners to pay for public employee pension shortfalls.
The left pounced on Mickelson for saying something that’s perfectly reasonable. Syracuse professor Len Burman is typical, scolding Mickelson that his tax rate can’t be that high so it must be his accountant’s fault (not the grasping government’s or the greedy public unions’) and that Mickelson should just thank his lucky stars that he’s lucky enough to make so much money that he can be so heavily taxed.
Sir, you get paid astonishing amounts of money for playing golf–directly through the purses you win at tournaments and indirectly through all the endorsement deals that come with golf success. According to Forbes, you are the seventh highest paid athlete in the world, with $4.8 million in salary and winnings and $43 million in endorsements?
Do you have any idea how lucky you are?
In Berman’s world, hard work isn’t what takes an athlete to the pinnacle of his sport. It’s just luck. Does Berman realize how lucky he is to be a useless leftist in a nation that hasn’t seen fit to cut the exorbitant costs and benefits of being a useless leftist at a typical university?
Well, Mickelson isn’t accustomed to the kind of blowback that comes from voicing an opinion that’s out of step with the loving, tolerant left. So now he has backed down.
“Finances and taxes are a personal matter, and I should not have made my opinions on them public,” Mickelson said in a statement released late Monday night. “I apologize to those I have upset or insulted, and assure you I intend to not let it happen again.”
That’s too bad. The wealthy have been hammered with the “they don’t pay their fair share” lie so often in the Obama years that a majority believes it, and re-elected Obama. The fact is and has long been that the wealthy pay the lion’s share of taxes, and that money is more and more often turned against them one way or another. We need more of them speaking out, not less.
As for Mickelson and his taxes, I have a suggestion: Texas. No state income tax, and therefore no surcharge on success. Central Texas could use another pro quality course carved out of the hill country.