The Right Opinion

Mickelson Chokes

By Michael Reagan · Jan. 24, 2013

Phil Mickelson choked on a gimme putt this week, but it wasn't on a golf course.

According to the AP's golf writer, America's most popular golfer “put his popularity on the line with polarizing comments about how much he has to pay in state and federal taxes.”

“Polarizing comments”?

Good grief.

Now it's “polarizing” for an American to hint that because of the higher federal and state income tax rates on millionaires leveled by Sacramento and Washington, he might have to migrate to Florida or Texas?

Though he had every right to, Mickelson didn't knock Obama or gripe like a Tea Partier about the federal, state and local tax bite on his estimated $45 million in annual earnings — about 62 percent.

Mickelson spoke the truth. Most pro golfers already live in Florida, and for good reason. It's not because of the warm weather, it's because there's no state income tax.

Tiger Woods, who bravely stuck up for Mickelson, has admitted without shame that he moved to Orlando years ago to escape California's income tax, which is now set at 13 percent on California's 35,000 remaining millionaires.

Ditto for Rush Limbaugh, who became a Floridian because of New York's confiscatory state and local taxes.

It's outrageous that any American – Mickelson, Woods, Mitt Romney or super-liberals like Babs Streisand or Bobby Redford – is forced to fork over 60 percent of their honest earnings to government.

But it isn't just wealthy pro golfers who are being driven out of California by high taxes.

Before Jan. 1, an older surgeon I know closed his practice, laid off his four employees, sold his house and moved to Nevada.

He was still a practicing surgeon, not because he needed the money but because he loved being a surgeon.

But the higher income tax rates now in effect under Proposition 30 for those earning more than $250,000 were too much for him and so the Broken State of California lost a good surgeon and four other jobs.

It's a shame Mickelson turned out to be such a wuss. Wouldn't it have been great if he had stood tall and become a tax-protesting hero – the Gerard Depardieu of America?

Depardieu, the wealthy and popular French actor, shocked the liberal intelligentsia of Europe with his defiant, politically incorrect and very public stand against France's confiscatory tax on the rich.

Decrying the 75 percent levy his socialist government is trying to put on millionaires, he moved to Belgium, gave up his French passport, and accepted the grant of citizenship from Russia, where the income tax is a reasonable, flat 13 percent.

Mickelson, meanwhile, chickened out.

He issued a sniveling apology this week, saying, “Finances and taxes are a personal matter, and I should not have made my opinions on them public. I apologize to those I have upset or insulted, and assure you I intend not to let it happen again.”

How pathetic.

Now it's apparently an insult to the poor – or a thought crime – for a rich and successful American to publicly point out that his taxes are so high he's thinking of moving to where they're lower.

It's too bad about Mickelson. Instead of apologizing and backtracking, he should be telling everyone about how high taxes are driving rich and successful people like him out of the state, demanding serious tax cuts and threatening to run for governor.

California is a state that already has more takers than makers. It can't afford any more wusses.

Copyright ©2013 Michael Reagan


wjm in Colorado said:

When all the millionairs leave the failed liberal states, where do they think the money to run the government will come from? Secure the borders, and don't let the liberals infect your neck of the woods, they are so insane they will try to make a successful state just like California. I think the Dr may have to move soon from Nevada. Colorado State legislature is now controlled by the marxists, thanks to the rats who left the sinking ship of California. America's termites (thanks to Bert Prelutsky for that apt description).

Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Mark Hansen in Long Beach, CA said:

Mickelson is doing Sacramento a favor by drawing attention to his tax situation and impending departure. Charitable of him to bother dropping a hint on that clueless bunch. California Democrats seem to be convinced that our state is somehow above having to compete with the other 49 states to keep and attract business.

The powers that be in Sacramento aren't concerned by the ongoing departure of businesses from the (once) Golden State. Heck, they opened the exit doors wide for aerospace and most manufacturing over the last few decades. But losing a big name sports that might just get their attention. Yeah right.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 1:22 PM

richard ryan in Lamar,Missouri said:

While Mickleson may have been imprudent in making his statement publicly, it disgusts me that he didn`t have the courage and fortitude to stand by it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 6:34 PM

Sig in Long Beach, CA said:

Michael Reagan, I'm a legal immigrant 1951,Korean Vet.53-55.My wife worked for your dad's election. Tell me where all the Rep.went with a back bone. No individuals with the intelligence to topple Obama ?? Do not wait till the knock on your door is from the Obama SS=Squelching Squad. Then it is too late. I lived to my age 21 like that. Now I rather fight than let O. be the dictator.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 11:02 PM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Sig-thankyou for your service and your passion. I believe there is no shortage of intelligence, but rather, shortage of votes, in Congress. We have a long Beach here on Long Island, that is still recovering, from Sandy.

Friday, January 25, 2013 at 6:40 AM

sfj in Alabama said:

Guess we could do what Tina Turner did; move to Switzerland and dump the American passport/citizenchip.

Friday, January 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM