The other side: Mickelson should pay up

By Jo Holt

January 24, 2013 - 1:47 pm
Jo Holt, chairwoman of Legislative District 11 Democratic Committee

Golfer Phil Mickelson is complaining because his California taxes are going up. He takes home millions of dollars a year, but that is just not enough. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see our most prosperous citizens stand up for fairness in our tax code and for what is best for the American economy in the long run?

We’ve all heard about the growing gap in income and wealth being paid for by the middle class all across this great country, including Arizona.

Every “average American” who works hard should be able to take home enough to raise a family, send their kids to great schools, get health care and save a little for retirement. But that is not what’s happening.

The disparity among Arizonans illustrates the problem: The percentage of income paid to state and local taxes, directly and indirectly, by low-income families is twice that of the highest income families, according to the AZ Children’s Action Alliance.

A new report by the Economic Policy Institute concludes that, after New Mexico, Arizona has the second-highest income inequality in the nation. And this gap has been growing steadily over the decades, thanks to the overwhelming influence of money in politics. 

Now, California is beginning to increase taxes on the very richest Americans, and some of these wealthy folks (not all of them) are going to complain. And, like Phil Mickelson, they will find a very sympathetic ear in our state Sen. Al Melvin, who wants “everyone to thrive and prosper here.”

I wonder if he really means everyone, since he doesn’t seem to be ready to place his bet on the middle class, who could use a helping hand right now. Perhaps he’s too busy standing up for the most well off among us, who can stand on their own very nicely, thank you.

Phil Mickelson is not a bad person, he’s talented and he’s worked hard; just like millions of middle-income Americans. So he should quit complaining and pay his taxes like the rest of us. 

It’s the truly patriotic thing to do. 

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