Yesterday, I invited pro-golfer, Phil Mickelson, to move to Nebraska. After the Humana Challenge he voiced frustration with taxes. As a California resident, higher state income tax rates approved by voters in the last election and the increased federal taxes from the fiscal cliff agreement have become oppressive. Mickelson's overall tax rate is over 60%. This year he will give two dollars to government for every dollar he earns for his family. This does not include property taxes. Frustration is reasonable.
This is the President's philosophy that success should not pay off. If you shoot under par and win the tournament, "you did not earn that". Successful people are treated like lottery winners. Your skills, investment, and risks are not factors, you were just lucky so government will take what you don't "need". This has moved to progressive states who follow the federal government's lead. No need to cap spending or entitlements, just keep charging more.
I invited Mickelson to Nebraska as a statement for our governor who proposes to eliminate the state income tax and shift the revenue burden to businesses who currently have tax exemptions. Off-setting federal tax increases by losing the state income tax would be very appealing to a business or successful entrepreneur, beyond the good quality of life and business climate in Nebraska. Even a token residence would elevate the profile for both Mickelson and Governor Dave Heineman. Even if we do not eliminate our state income tax, our rates are much lower than California's and we have an excellent quality of life. Our state even has a "rainy day" fund to draw on in times of economic hardship, not just raising taxes on the citizens, or cutting services.
Mickelson represents the inevitable result of our aggressive tax system. Business and successful people relocate to more hospitable places. You shrink the tax base. As you move forward, it forces higher taxes down, from $450 to $250 thousand to $50,000 income level. Mickelson could be our John Adams of the modern tax era, pointing out unfairness in punishing the wealthy, and foolishly trying to build our economy by just raising taxes.
His comments came after the Humana Challenge. A key participant in this event is former president Bill Clinton. Did someone at the White House, watching world events as the president danced at the inaugural ball with his wife, ask Clinton to chat with Phil about how happy we are to give back, and if Phil thought about it he'd agree? Today, Phil gave an apology and a promise for more details in the future. He says personal finances are a private affair, and it was incorrect for him to use a public forum to give his views. He apologized to anyone he offended.
Prior to the American Revolution, John Adams successfully defended British soldiers who fired on a crowd in Boston that threw objects and threatened them. In the months after, Adams kept looking for resolutions between the colonies and the king, until he represented his home and helped write the Declaration of Independence. After the Revolution, he was the first ambassador to England on behalf of the newly formed country. Disagreeing with unjust policies does not constitute disrespect or inappropriate behavior. Speaking out is not an offense. It is part of our Constitution, the right of free speech, and the burden of our current taxes is not a private matter. It is what is ahead for many more Americans. We cannot give away our freedom to politicians who challenge us to do our "fair share" and earn $2 for them while we earn $1 for our families. Keep the messages coming, Phil. We all need to hear it.