Tax Analysts Blog

Stifling Lefty -- Political Correctness in the Tax Debates

Posted on Jan 30, 2013

Phil Mickelson, the great golfer, caused quite a stir recently when he said (and this is really all he said) that the new higher taxes at the federal level and in his home state of California “doesn’t work for me right now.” Lefty, as golf aficionados refer to him, said he might be taking some drastic action. Mickelson is a really rich guy. His net worth is in the $100 million plus range. And the liberal elites hammered him for being selfish. He was pilloried for not being grateful for his riches and having the nerve to complain about his rising tax burdens. They want him to want to hand his money – and let’s be clear, it’s his money – to the state. There are after all bridges to be repaired, teachers to be paid, and poor people to be fed. The left would like Lefty to be more generous. Of course it’s always easier to be generous with other people’s money.

In response to the barrage from the left, Lefty issued an apology. He said "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 to not let it happen again." So the pro tax people managed to shut Mickelson up. Rather than engaging in a discussion about why it is okay to take his money, they stifled him. Bully for the liberal elites. I remind everyone that most professional athletes choose to live in Florida where there is no personal income tax. I am sure Florida or Texas, or Nevada would love to have another multimillionaire athlete living (and spending money) in their midst.

Read Comments (6)

West Coast OffenseJan 30, 2013

Isn't Phil sponsored by KMPG? Don't they exist for the purpose of helping
clients move assets to the Cayman Islands and dodge taxes in the process? Maybe
Phil should request some in-kind benefits.

von GneisenauJan 30, 2013

@ WECO: what kind of "in-kind benefits" does your experience suggest as
appropriate here?

David BrunoriJan 30, 2013

Lucas, A lot more people than one "third rate acadummic" criticized old Lefty.
And I take great umbrage at the charge of sophistry. I am a lot of things but
not a sophister.

Von Gneisenau, out of curiosity, is the nom de plume a reference to the Field
Marshall or the merchant raider. I ask because, all sophistry aside, I was a
German naval history buff for a while.

lucas rachubaJan 31, 2013

I think being barked at by some third rate acadummic from Syracuse (whose, per
own description, "not so secret" wet dream is to be showcased on the Daily
Show) hardly constitutes being "pilloried". Of course, both his column and Mr.
Brunori's drive traffic & therein lie the origins of such sophistry.

lucas rachubaFeb 1, 2013


You added a link to a Forbes article with the name of L Burman - so that is all
I had to go on - I didn't see any other negative commentary on the topic
(though I didn't look for any) other than, independent of your article, I have
heard people talk about this "issue" and have seen people, e.g., calculate how
many six-figure jobs California would have to create (not even accounting for
tax differences present with multiple taxpayers) just to replace Mickelson's
tax intake. I have also seen people demanding that Mickelson apologize for his
apology - I think all sensible persons can agree with that.

As far as that one Forbes blog, I honestly do not know whether the guy is a
third, fourth or -nth-rate academic or just wants to say something stupid and
drive traffic to his blog (people do crazy things to get on tv) - reports today
are that law school applications are at a 30 year low so perhaps his blog just
serves as a kind of a hedge. His "arguments" are so obnoxious that it is not
worth addressing them - though, many of the Forbes readers obviously took up
this "challenge" with great ferocity and delight.

As far as umbrage, I think this discussion is the tax world's equivalent to the
MSM's Michael Jackson's trial/OJSimpson, etc. In which case, you may, fairly,
ask why comment on it. Well we're all tempted from time to time.

lucas rachubaFeb 1, 2013

Incidentally, people fleeing high-tax states is obviously nothing new (see
Arthur Laffer's work on the topic) - we may take solace from the fact that we
have a choice to go to warm Florida rather than frigid Russia.

A more interesting current story would be about the "snafus" with the IRS'
migration data program. (Also, the takeover of Forbes by a left-wing cabal has
been well documented in the American Spectator).

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