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Golfer Mickelson Will Hand Over 61% of Earnings to the Taxman

Back in January, golfer Phil Mickelson made a comment about the rate of taxation he pays for his success. Not only is he paying high federal taxes, but his home state of California is gouging him as well.

“There are going to be some drastic changes for me because I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state,” he said “If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate is 62, 63 percent, so I've got to make some decisions on what I'm going to do.” 

Not expecting the attention his comment received, Mickelson followed up with an apology; not for his beliefs, but for speaking them openly. “My apology is for talking about it publicly,” he said “because I shouldn't take advantage of the forum that I have as a professional golfer to try to ignite change over these issues." With two big wins in Scotland this month adding up to a hefty tax bill, however, the world is watching to see if he will vote with his feet and move to a state with more economic freedom. 

This month, Mickelson won both the Scottish Open and the Open Championship, claiming a little over $2 million in prize money. He had better not start spending it yet, though. Between the United Kingdom, United States, and the State of California, he will lose about 61% of that money to taxation. 

As Mickelson said back in January, "I've never had a problem paying my fair share. I don't know what that is right now, but I've never had a problem paying my fair share." It’s not that I feel bad for a guy who made over $800,000 in a month, but it it unreasonable to think that the majority of one’s earnings (no matter how large) should go to the government. That doesn’t seem “fair” at all. 

Carl Goss

In other words, it's terrible that he actually has to pay taxes. I don't like paying taxes either. Why is everybody supposed to feel sorry for Mickelson. His after-tax income is, to put it mildly, pretty high. He uses public services too, shouldn't he pay for them?

Carl W. Goss
Los Angeles

Scott Brians


That he uses public services is a reason to pay a tax. 60% of 2 million USD is 1.2 million USD. What public service provided to him was worth 1.2 million USD?

The obvious answer is that he in no way received 1.2 million USD worth of services. Since this truth is demonstrably the case, the money was taken from him not on account of any service, but on account of coercion, which is theft.

Every victim has a God-given right to protect himself.

Since government perpetrated this, government is then a thief. People who applaud and excuse government theft are then coconspirators of the same crime: they vote and provide public cover for politicians who promote government theft.