You know that whole “tax the rich” philosophy of the left? Well, it doesn’t work.

The reason it doesn’t work is that the rich didn’t get that way by being stupid. They are pretty good at using the dastardly invention known as an “automobile”. When a bunch of Democrats concoct a scheme to take more money from them, they make use of their automobiles and find another place to live where the state government isn’t quite so grabby.

My home state is learning that lesson firsthand.

Maryland couldn’t balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O’Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were “willing and able to pay their fair share.” The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller’s office concedes is a “substantial decline.” On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year — even at higher rates.

Sure, the recession has put a dent in the total number of millionaires, but there is no doubt that a good number of them have simply moved to a place where they can put their money to better use than fueling the gaping maw of nanny government.

They can also see when the government is becoming openly hostile to business and wastes the money it does collect from them on frivolous real-estate purchases to please the environmental crowd while running a horse-choking deficit.

The rich have seen where Maryland is headed and they want no part of it. So they left. But don’t pity them. Pity the poor folks in my state who can’t so easily pick up and go. They’re the ones who will suffer for Governor O’Malley’s foolish liberalism.

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5 Responses to “It’s Easier to Tax the Rich When They Can’t Leave”

  1. fireweednectar says:

    I used to live in Bethesda and I got a shocker when I started working: I was by NO means a millionaire and I got nothing back in taxes-there was no return of taxes overpaid; I still OWED.

    Guess what? I left! (There were other reasons but that was one of them.) So much for Obama's claim to only tax the richest of the rich. I can tell you the lower tax brackets aren't going to escape, either. Every few months the max will get lower, just like it did from November to January. The bloated government will need more and more money (for less and less services, such as rationed health care), and the under 50K workers will see the government put its hand out as well.

    What will states start to do? Put up miniature Berlin Walls to keep the people in? This place is starting to look more and more like Europe, what is a sad state of affairs.

  2. fostert says:

    Maryland has always been the most corrupt government in the Northeast. It was that way long before Spiro Agnew made corruption famous there. Let's face it, you're the Louisiana of the Northeast. And you have the crabs to prove it. But it's the corruption, not the taxes. Nobody wants to do business there because there was never a concept of doing legitimate business there. The Shipyards were your last legitimate business, and they weren't even remotely legitimate. The Bethlehem Steel Shipyards were downright ugly, and that's the best you ever had. So instead of bitching, why don't you just create an industry? Look, the gold industry went away a long time ago in Colorado, but we still can find a way to make money. Why can't you?

  3. fostert says:

    "Why can’t you?"

    Okay, we have beautiful mountains and great ski areas, and you have noting but the ruins of previous industrial capacity. But there is something beyond ports, shipbuilding, and steelmaking that can do something. You still have a port and ravenous longshoremen. That surely makes money. Your shipbuilding lost to the Polish, and they lost to the Chinese. And if the Chinese could keep up with the Koreans, I'd be surprised. As for the steelmmaking, that Sparrows Point plant will still work for you. God only knows who owns it now, but they aren't Americans for sure. Republicans ensured that. Too bad, my father built it. And by building it, I mean being Chief Project Engineer and hiring the European and Asian companies that built it. And he fired the Americans who worked there. Wasn't profitable to keep Americans. Asians work for less, and Europeans have better expertise. Ain't that America? Something to see.

  4. fostert says:

    "Ain’t that America? Something to see."

    Welcome to your world. You think the unions and bad government did it, but that's just not true. The unions were no help for sure, but they never had the power that the elite corporations had. Bethlehem Steel rocked your world when you were just a kid. I know this because my dad closed your shipbuilding plant when I was a kid. He tried to make it up with the continuous casting plant at Sparrows Point. And it's a great plant, and he built it for you, but Americans don't own that anymore, do they? So tell me how the Republican plan helps us. We can't hold on to our own manufacturing. Your plan is to sell it it foreign interests. Why is foreign ownership of our infrastructure better than American ownership of it? And tell me why my father had to fire the fathers of people you know so that the Koreans and Japanese could own it? That's the capitalism you like, but why is it you desire foreign ownership?

  5. fostert says:

    "Why is foreign ownership of our infrastructure better than American ownership of it?"

    And let's make this clear: we subsidize foreign companies to take over our manufacturing as a means to destroy unions. And it does a great job of destroying unions. It also does a great job of destroying the manufacturing facilities. But the best job it does is to export money out of our country. But it is the three Republican goals at once: destroy the unions, destroy manufacturing, and destroy our finances. The Perfect Triumverate. Take out the best parts of the economy so you can rape us afterward. But the rest of us just would like to make money, so why do you want to stop us?

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