How much intellectual heavy lifting does it take to raise a tax?

Prioritizing and carefully reducing expenditures requires mental gymnastics, but one doesn’t need an Ivy League degree to increase taxes…even though most of these collegiate thoroughbreds advocate doing just that.

Once you have decided to hike taxes to fund even bigger government, more spending (and borrowing), the obvious question is whom should you tax? The answer is oh-so-easy, those who have the worst public relations.

Let’s put on our social justice hats and indulge in a little Schadenfreude and/or sadism.

Who do we most want to suffer? Here are some predictable candidates and potential targets…all in desperate need of better brand management.

Tax the Rich: This is obviously not a new subject (e.g., class warfare) or a new target for increased taxation. Congress recently passed and the president signed the latest tax increase on the rich. Last November, Californians approved Proposition 30 with its “temporary” tax increases on the wealthy, prompting the second best golfer on the planet, Phil Mickelson, to complain (and later to apologize for daring to question taxation in the Land of the Free).


Maybe we should be apologizing to him for imposing a 39.6 percent federal rate, a 13.3 percent (California) state rate; 1 percent state mental health surcharge; 3.8 percent state Medicare surcharge; San Diego County property taxes on his $15 million home; 8 percent sales tax and 20 percent on any capital gains. Essentially, Phil works from January 1 to at least August 31 to pay all of the governments with their hands out.

In the 1970s, the Rolling Stones fled England to escape its punitive 98 percent tax rate (e.g., working from January 1 until December 15 every year to pay the government). Should Mickelson at least move out of California to no-income tax Texas or Florida to reduce his personal tax bite by at least a third? Sounds like a good idea.

Some mocked Phil for complaining about his taxes, insinuating that he had not achieved or earned his income. Let’s see: he won four of the PGA’s grand slam events and 40 tournaments. That fits my definition of achievement. Let’s celebrate it…Oh…Sorry I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings…

Tax the Endomorphs: Isn’t it fun to snicker at those who can’t push themselves away from the dinner table? “Do I look fat in my outfit?” “Do you have to ask?” “Why do you live to eat as opposed to eating to live?”

There is no doubt that obesity is a major societal problem, so do we “solve” it by making the government obese? Some have suggested a “fat tax.” My first question is what constitutes “fat?” Is this restricted to people who are overweight or obese according to the Body Mass Index (BMI)? That would be one fat tax.

Denmark recently rescinded its fat tax because the heavy dynamic types were going across the border to Sweden and Germany to satisfy their caloric fix. The tiny Scandinavian country was also inadvertently punishing its fine cheese and meat industries, making them uncompetitive in the face of foreign competition.

Tax the Smokers: This dwindling group (for more reasons than one) is probably the most unsympathetic in the eyes of the general public. For example, they are permanently illiterate when it comes to the warnings on the side of each pack.

John Daly

There is little public relations can do to save them from themselves and/or the nicotine. How much further can the government extract from these addicted people? It seems the government is just as hooked on nicotine-stimulated revenues even in the face of more smokers biting the dust.

Just four years ago, Congress passed and the president signed the sweet sounding, “The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009.” The key was a tax increase on smoking, increasing the federal tax on a pack of smokes from $0.39 to $1.01. This tax is levied on top of the myriad of state taxes on cigarettes, such as $0.87 per pack in California; $1.18 in Oregon; $3.02 in Washington and a whopping $4.35 in New York.

Tax the Lawyers: What do you call 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

Whenever a group has earned being the butt of bad jokes with impunity, you know they need help from a public relations standpoint. But do they really need help? Those most inclined to raise taxes on them are the ones that are the political allies of the powerful trial lawyers. Don’t plan on reading about a lawyer’s tax anytime soon, particularly when Democrats control at least one house of Congress and the White House as well.

Tax the Pale Males: There are no greater symbols of white privilege than the pale male (e.g., 43 of America’s 44 presidents). Can you imagine being a rich pale smoking male endomorph attorney?

How many times can you tax this bastard? Ah heck, let’s just confiscate all of his income in the name of “the public good.”,_Sales_and_Income_Tax_Increase_%282012%29