Pretend taxes

When it comes to over taxing, people love to pretend. And there has been a whole lot of pretending lately.

In France, for instance. The country’s former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is reported to be planning to move to the UK. “Move” is not the right word. “Flee” would be more accurate.

Sarkozy wishes to flee France’s high taxes. The new president of France is trying to slap the rich with a steep tax increase. For fairness, I suppose. And Sarkozy, being rich, may say adieu and kiss my derriere.

One of France’s most famous citizens, actor Gerard Depardieu, has already fled. Into the welcoming arms of Russia and Vladimir Putin. You know things must be bad when a guy wants to abandon French cuisine for boiled cabbage and Putin.

These guys are not alone. Evidently a number of rich French are deserting their country over the high taxes.

Meanwhile, American pro golfer Phil Michelson grumbled about California’s high taxes. He threatened to leave that state. He hinted he might leave the country. And Tiger Woods admitted that he moved from California to escape its taxes. Just as billionaire Tom Golisano beat it out of New York for Florida. Where there are no income taxes. He took a hike when New York lawmakers crafted higher taxes. In a bill that seemed to be written expressly for him. For his money, that is.

Thousands of folks move from high to low-tax places. Thousands of businesses do. You can see this when you look at the patterns of people moving from state to state.

Here is where the pretending comes in. The birds who levy the taxes pretend that people move for other reasons. Or that those who move are selfish. And unreasonable. And ungrateful. Right. Mickelson’s state and federal taxes would come to 60 percent of his income. Before he shells out property and sales tax. He is soooo selfish to want to keep more than 40 cents of each dollar he earns.

I ask you a reasonable question. Why in hell would anybody want to move to Texas? The weather is lousy in winter, lousy in summer. Compared to the states people desert in order to come there. Moving to Texas from, say, beautiful rural New York is like…it’s like…well, moving to Putinland from Paris. No amount of vodka can alter this.

The politicians never admit their taxes drive people away. And they usually threaten to punish those who desert the ship. Meanwhile, critics on the left pillory the Mickelsons and Golisanos for their grumbling. They can whine about them. But when these big hitters leave states, everybody else pays higher taxes. To replace what these guys no longer pay. And a lot of charities in those states pine for the days when these guys were contributing to them.

The pols who levy higher taxes pretend that people don’t change their behavior when faced with them. They will raise taxes 50 percent on certain activities. They will predict revenues from the taxes will rise 50 percent. So … revenue goes up only 5 percent. Or perhaps goes down.

Does the message get through to the tax writers? Nah. They would rather pretend that something else drove revenues down.

Ah well, the French can pretend the people moving away are simply vacationing. Or no longer crave croissants. And Californians can pretend their neighbors move to Texas because they love the grit and the gnats that get swept from the desert into their lattes.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

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