Phil Mickelson: Instant hate for California’s Gerard Depardieu

by CalWatchdog Staff | January 23, 2013 6:15 am


Jan. 23, 2013

By Chris Reed

We don’t have a clear verdict yet on the predictions that the sharp hike in income taxes paid by the rich in California, courtesy of Proposition 30, will drive them from the Golden State. Certainly it seems likely, based on how large groups of people have reacted to tax changes in, oh, a big modern nation like the United Kingdom[1]. But if it does happen in California, expect those fleeing to face hatred and contempt.

I based that on the reaction to legendary San Diego golfer Phil Mickelson’s since semi-recanted[2] Sunday comments that the increase in state and federal taxes will lead to “drastic” changes in his career and life. Most people assumed that Mickelson was specifically peeved about the push in the state income tax from 10.3 percent to 13.3 percent on those in his tax bracket thanks to Prop. 30’s passage, and took it as a sign he was ready to follow many golfers[3] who have moved to Florida, which has no state income tax.

Mickelson may seem an unlikely candidate to be California’s version of Gerard Depardieu[4]. But he is far more colorful[5] than the usual bland PGA pro. So when he offered a gripe about taxes and Social Security consuming more than half his income, it wasn’t all that surprising.

A generation ago, the vitriol his comments triggered would have been surprising, and somewhat  isolated. Griping about taxes used to be something of an American tradition. No more. From President Obama on down, the Democrats who call for civility[6] have sold a narrative for years that those who disagree with them are racists[7]/contemptible fools/morons/know-nothings[8], etc., on every issue — including taxes.

Media hypocrisy

On ESPN’s popular and often-wonderful “Pardon the Interruption,” co-host Michael Wilbon called Mickelson’s tax gripes “garbage.” After the former Washington Post reporter got a huge pay hike to work at ESPN, Wilbon moved from high-tax Maryland to low-tax Arizona.

On the popular Deadspin sports website, whose ownership is incorporated in the Cayman Islands for tax purposes, Mickelson was hypocritically fricaseed[9] for thinking his double-tax-whammy was unfair.

But what, to me at least, was most troubling of all was in the hundreds of comments on every online  iteration of this story that I saw. Mickelson was reviled as an evil pig. Here’s a sample … and even after the barrage of recent years, I still find this kind of confiscatory thinking  to be stunning:

“… Mickelson still gets to keep somewhere in the neighborhood of $24 million. That’s more than anyone needs. …. The point is that it’s up to the government to decide how much [income] is too much.”

Two of the founding fathers saw this mindset coming long ago, as Andrew Napolitano noted in a column[10] last week:

“Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton agreed on little publicly, but they did agree that when the public treasury becomes a public trough and the voters recognize that, they will send to the government only those who promise them a bigger piece of the government pie.”

You may have earned that money, but it’s not your money. It’s up to the government to decide how much you keep, so shut up and know your place — you scumbag 1 percenter.

These are scary times.

  1. United Kingdom:
  2. semi-recanted:
  3. many golfers:
  4. California’s version of Gerard Depardieu:
  5. colorful:
  6. call for civility:
  7. racists:
  8. contemptible fools/morons/know-nothings:
  9. fricaseed:
  10. column:

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