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.