It’s hard out here for the rich.
Take, for example, the woman on a recent JetBlue flight from New York City to San Diego. The fine lady went righteously berserk when a male passenger from the coach section was moved into her row in the premium section after the television at his designated seat did not work.
The woman was obligatorily outraged because the man had not paid the fee to sit in the premium section, as she had. The woman’s august anger was so strong that the jet’s pilots had to make an unscheduled stop in Denver to have the wonderful woman removed from the airplane.
As the legitimately livid woman left the plane she was booed by her fellow 137 passengers, who had to wait for several hours at the Denver airport before they could continue their trip to San Diego.
How dare the airline remove this fine woman for vehemently protesting the fact that a member of the hoi polloi had not only been moved to her fancy section but to her personal row? She had paid specifically to be away from such people, what with their Target-bought clothes and $25 haircuts, and it was wrong for the flight attendants to subject her to the company, or proximity, or smell, of such a person.
And how dare her fellow passengers boo her? Obviously she’s better in every way than those envious members of the rabble, and booing her will not change that fact, and neither will electing Obama instead of the man from the right side of the estates who would have treated our wonderful rich the way they deserve.
Take, also, champion golfer/pitchman Phil Mickelson, Mickelson said last week he’s considering moving from California, his lifetime home, to a state without state income tax such as Florida, because California’s voters recently passed Proposition 30, which increases the state’s income tax for its highest-earning residents. One wealthy person who will have to pay the tax recently was quoted as referring to the passage of the tax, quite accurately, as the “tyranny of the majority.”
Mickelson, who makes about $60 million a year, said his effective tax rate when all state, federal and payroll taxes are tallied will be around 63 percent, although various tax experts said his taxes can’t top 53 percent, and that’s before his attorneys and accountants find all the best ways to shelter his income.
Using Mickelson’s math, he would clear only about $20 million a year after taxes, which is brutally unfair to someone who does so much for our society by expertly putting his dimpled balls into cups. Such a drastic slice may mean Mickelson will have to employ only three full-time personal chefs instead of four, which may mean Phil will have to microwave his own sandwich — OK, maybe three sandwiches in Phil’s case — one afternoon each week.
How is it fair that Phil has to pay state taxes for teachers and police officers when he sends his children to private schools and has his own private security contingent? And why should Phil have to pay for highway maintenance and repairs when he’s out of the state more than half the year and takes private jets when he travels anywhere beyond his home town?
I could go on, for Phil’s sake, but the fact is wealthy people got that way through hard work … OK, and blind luck sometimes … and OK, inheritance quite often.
That’s why it is just not right to force a man such as Phil Mickelson to live on only $20 million a year.
I mean, can you even imagine that?
Bret Kofford teaches writing at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus. His opinions don’t necessarily reflect those of SDSU or its employees or those of the Imperial Valley Press and its employees.
Kofford can be reached at Kofford@roadrunner.com
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