October 25, 2012 | 30 comments
Phil Mickelson keeps apologizing for telling the truth about higher taxes.
A couple things of note from the world of golf this past week: Tiger Woods won his eighth tournament at Torrey Pines, and The Phil Mickelson Apology Tour is still, apparently, in full swing. Before playing some unexceptional rounds at the Farmers Insurance Open, the four-time major champion continued seeking forgiveness for earlier remarks about his taxes.
“I’ve made some dumb, dumb mistakes,” Mickelson chuckled, “and, obviously, talking about this stuff was one of them.”
For those who haven’t followed the story, Mickelson — nicknamed, “Lefty” for his big, left-handed swing — found himself in the center of a media firestorm earlier this month after suggesting that new state and federal income taxes may lead him to make “drastic changes” in his personal life.
When asked if such drastic changes might include leaving California or even relocating to Canada, the world’s 22nd-ranked golfer left the door open.
“There are going to be some drastic changes for me,” he said, “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.”
Mickelson was referring to both federal tax increases and California’s recently passed Proposition 30, which retroactively raised taxes on the state’s highest earners.
“But if you add up,” Mickelson continued, “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.”
Naturally, the guardians of fiscal morality stepped forth to scold Mickelson for being everything from ungrateful to unpatriotic. Fearful of becoming America’s Gerard Depardieu, the French actor who recently fled to Russia to avoid his own country’s progressive taxes, Phil quickly began his interminable apologizing. By then, of course, the left-wing smear machine had been irreversibly activated.
Tom Ley, writing for the endlessly sanctimonious Deadspin, offered Mickelson his mock condolences. “Poor guy,” scoffs Ley, “He can’t even afford to buy a share of a baseball team anymore,” referring to the golfer’s previous interest in the San Diego Padres.
Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast (which I think used to be Newsweek) offered his own financial insight. Tomasky, having recently finished reading a really good blog post, concluded that Mickelson must employ “America’s Dumbest Accountant” if he is actually paying north of 60% of his income in taxes. Surely, with the plethora of deductions and loopholes available to the rich, Phil has to be paying at least somewhat less than he claims.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter to the left whether Mickelson’s math is accurate or not. To the contrary, Tomasky points out that even if the golfer does fork over 63% of his earnings, that’s cool too. “Then the poor fellow was living on a mere $17.4 million last year,” he snarks.
And what about Lefty’s quick back peddling? Wasn’t his original apology sufficient?
“Just another reason to root against him,” pouts Tomasky.
If liberals have a problem with pro golfers relocating to tax-friendly destinations, they may want to start following a different sport. And we’re not just talking about Californians like Mickelson. In fact, over the past few years, Europe has watched helplessly as many of its most talented players flee to states like Florida for lucrative endorsements and a vastly improved tax climate. Heck, Europe’s Ryder Cup teams have been chock-full of ex-pats for years.
Peter Hanson? A Florida resident. Justin Rose? Florida again. Lee Westwood? You guessed it: The Sunshine State. Even Rory McIlroy, the world’s number one golfer, recently decided to ditch his home in Northern Ireland for a swanky new mansion in Palm Beach County.
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H/T to National Review Online