PETULANT PLUTOCRAT OF THE WEEK

Elite pro golfers today spend so much time hobnobbing with the rich that they’ve become, in effect, honorary plutocrats. Last weekend golf star Phil Mickelson did his best to sound like a real plutocrat. Mickelson hinted he might exit his home in California — and even the USA — now that rising tax rates have him paying “62, 63 percent” of his income in taxes. In fact, no American — even in California, with its 13.3 percent tax on income over $1 million — faces a tax bill anywhere near 62 percent. The top fed rate, 39.6 percent, applies just to income left after state taxes paid get deducted. Mickelson soon saw his error — and the ire of his average fans none too keen about wealthy whiners. He apologized, a move that left the Wall Street Journal fuming. Mickelson, the Journal pouted, had begun “a useful conversation” about how “confiscatory tax rates discourage productive effort.” Like hitting golf balls.

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