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"Mickelson expects to make 'drastic' changes because of political, economic climate"

That's the headline in his hometown paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune. Which means Phil Mickelson's Wednesday press conference at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open should be quite the lively affair following his post round comments at Sunday's Humana Challenge.

Tod Leonard explains the circumstances and primary issue Mickelson intends to elaborate on Wednesday in his hometown.

Mickelson, 42, was responding to a question about why, in a conference call last Monday, he referred to “what’s gone on the last couple of months, politically,” when talking about the semi-retirement of fellow tour pro Steve Stricker.

“I think we’re all going to have to find things that work for us,” Mickelson said on the call. "I think we're all going to have our own kind of way of handling things, handling time in our career, handling what's gone on the last couple of months politically. I think we're all going to have to find things that work for us."

Asked if there was a correlation between his views and his withdrawal from interest in the Padres, Mickelson said, “Yeah, absolutely.”

I guess that rules out Phil watching the inauguration Monday or sending Governor Moonbeam some Callaways!

Alex Miceli fills us in on Mickelson's primary gripe.

Last fall, Californians approved Proposition 30, which boosts the state income tax to 13.3 percent on earnings of $1 million or more. That’s a 29.1 percent increase from the previous “millionaires tax” in a state with tremendous fiscal issues.

Compound that increased liability with the recent changes to the federal tax code, which bumps the top bracket to 39.6 percent from 35 percent to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff, and Mickelson’s tax hit is substantial.

And this...

“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,” Mickelson said. “I’ve got to make some decisions on what I am going to do.”

The official transcript.

So here's the good news as I see it: this will take some of the focus off of Tuesday night's players meeting where the PGA Tour will be discussing a decidedly first world problem in the form of anchoring belly putters.

The bad news? Depending on how Mickelson presents his case (he's quite good and comes off as sincere when he's passionate about something), he could either (A) shed light on legitimate issues surrounding the tax code or (B) brand PGA Tour upper echelon golfers as suffering the firstest of first world problems and merely reinforce negative stereotypes about the sport and those who play it. 

Should be an interesting day at Torrey Pines!

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Reader Comments (106)

This is all a publicity stunt to promote kpmg. Over/under # of times he mentions his tax advisors in Wednesday's presser. "After guidance from kpmg, I have found a way to pay my burdens and stay here in California."
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Jemsek
Actually, the focus on federal rates is off target. By the time you factor in what you actually pay in taxes, including income (federal and state), social security, medicare, property (state, local, school), sales, gas, utility taxes (electricity, nat gas, phone, cable, etc.), self employment, hotel tax, rental car tax, ad volorem, license plate taxes, embedded cost in goods due to tax code compliance, capital gains, tolls, etc. - when you add it all up, the effective tax rate easily approaches or exceeds 50% of income. Federal taxes, which account for around 20% of middle and upper income earners, are only but a part of the overall tax burden. If you actually calculate what you pay directly in taxes (forgetting the more nebulous embedded cost), most people will be shocked at the percentage.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor Anderson
I agree that Phil deserves to keep as much of his money as he can. I also see that California is bankrupt and can't continue to operate this way.
What's the answer? I don't know.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Plato - you got most of the story right.... we all get the same services or opportunities for our taxes , some of us have to actually pay for them , that is the part that you missed. Hope that clears it up for you ....
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHackinator


This is a classic example of being quoted out of context. Sorry for the caps, but I didn't want everyone to keep posting as if PM didn't know what he was talking about.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Reverse Eagle,
Do you have any data on this "en masse" fleeing? I'm here in the People's Republic and I'm not seeing it!

In the wealthier enclaves around here, we're already back to the days when mansions, McMansions and homes you can't believe go for $2 million aren't even on the market for more than a day or two before being sold. So they may be fleeing but there appears to be no shortage of takers.
01.21.2013 | Registered CommenterGeoff
What was the refernce to Steve Stricker. Is Phil saying that Stricker has trimmed his schedule so that he doesn't have to pay so much tax to his resident state, I think Wisconsin?
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterH Leonard
I believe what Phil is just now starting to awaken to is California's future: Indebtedness, with increased taxes, and a diminished standard of living. I was offered a job there, and I turned it down, because I know my future wages there will NEVER keep up with my increasing tax burden . . .
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmitty
a chain email? my father in law must be posting here now
Sorry for my little caps crap, but it seemed important to the conversation.

My opinion, and that is all it is, is PM should have kept his mouth shut about all this. IF he moves, he could throw out a little blurb, but as was said, all the political stuff, of which I am guilty as anyone, is a bit off the mark for the best golf spot on the interweb. On the other and, it is refreshing to see so many comments, and realize how aware we are as citizens, and perhaps real change will follow.

PM has always been a talker, and he has never been shy about it. So he opened this can of worms, but everywhere there are problems, and he is in a virtual paradise--as was said-would giving that up for a 5% difference in the bottom line be worth it--- can't he live on all those millions?

My fixed income is under a thousand dollars a month. When the new year broke, my wife's weekly income was docked over 30 bucks, from the WH being restored, and our insurance costs on medicine have almost doubled in the new year--- sadly, I'm one of those 4 people who got the free beer.

What was missing in that pure BS, is that the 4 who got the free beer got a 6 oz glass, while the 10th got a &*^^%%$ pitcher of beer to go with his 24 oz glass.

So don't think that ''analogy'' shed any light on anything.

I used to live on University Blvd, right down the road from Rice. We spent 200 bucks going out to eat, in the 80's- so that is a hell of a lot more now. But failing health took all that away, and we ended up on food stamps- so don't think you are so fucking tough or immune, with your paper money- what if apple tanked- it used to be under $10-- what if you became paralyzed, as what happened to me? You can't scare me- I never knew if I would move again, but for every dick who take advantage of ''the system'', thee is someone like me, who needs help, or a least who needed it to get back on his feet.

We spend more on defense that ALL THE OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD COMBINED. You want better tax rates? Cut the military to a realistic figure, and cut corporate welfare. That would solve it in a NY minute.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
What defines "rich"? How much money does a person need to have, or make, to be "rich"?

California *and* Bust

vanityfair (dot) com/business/features/2011/11/michael-lewis-201111

Prett good read there. I get a chuckle out of the "leave if you don't like it" crowd...

...careful what you wish for.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@digsouth: Defense, 19% of spending; social entitlement programs, 43%.

We are going to have to cut way more than defense or corporate welfare . . .
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmitty

Obviously, you haven't seen all the cars with California license plates here in Texas for the past 20 years. Most of them are not just visiting . . .
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmitty
Smitty-- That ''social entitlement'' includes social security, which everyone receiving paid in it is not the government ''giving'' any money to anyone on SS --they paid for it.

Additionally, I am not to sur of your figures- where did you get them, if you don't mind? Thanks. This is just the kind of posting we need, to arrive at figures that DTF will convert in to a solution. :)
01.21.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

Social entitlement spending: Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid.

Wikipedia:, first pie chart

My point is these costs are increasing, and crowding out other spending. Our payroll taxes will not be able to keep up with these costs without crushing taxation.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmitty
@H Leonard - I think he's implying that pros like Stricker are going to start avoiding playing in states like California and cherry pick their schedule to be in tax friendly states since they have to pay income tax in each individual state.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy
That's a really interesting observation Jerry.....really really interesting.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Yes, I am guilty, Pete. But I don't think I have ever started a political argument. Egged one on now and again, yes ;-)
That comes from always playing it down.

If Stricker is really Going Selectively Galt because of his taxes, well, that means he was making too much money in the first place. I really don't know how professional golf will get along without him. It will be a big loss, especially in Georgia, where we might not see him in the Masters. We are not a particularly high-tax state, which shows, but compared to Florida we have an infinite state income tax.

I read Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein over the weekend and have ordered several copies to give as gifts. For those of us who are more than half way to the end of the journey, I highly recommend this book. A favorite quote from Epicurus that explains where we are as a culture appears on p. 16: "Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little."

Smitty: No one on my side of the divide denies what you point out. However, Social Security is not part of the federal budget, except as a source of funds to raid. This was pioneered by Ronald Reagan, who in the immortal words of Dick Cheney, canned hunter extraordinaire, taught us that "Deficits don't matter." And they don't if you use the Social Security Trust Fund as a credit card and pay the money back with Treasury bonds, which Pete Peterson seems to think are worth nothing. I wonder if he thinks the same of the other Treasuries that are undoubtedly part of his vast wealth? One simple fix will go 90% of the way to repairing Social Security: raising the threshold from $113,000 to ~$250,000. Add a month or two to the retirement age and the system becomes a perpetual motion machine that benefits everyone. Those who need the money (most of us) will get it and people like Phil Mickelson will get tip money for their sojourns in Vegas. Medicare-for-All will fix the other problems, while removing the specter of medical bankruptcy from the land. We could also bring the troops home, so to speak. Win, win, win.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

Here is a lengthy but interesting read:

I would humbly suggest that the expatriation of wealth is in its early stages but will gather momentum. Of course, I still live in NY, which has all the taxation and regulation of CA but without the temperate weather and uh, scenery. What it also has is a population that skews heavily to either end of the wealth spectrum, a bifurcation currently accelerating in CA. Which is fine and dandy for participants in deeply rooted industries like finance and entertainment, public sector employees, beneficiaries of trans-generational wealth and dependents. What it's not good for is growth. What it's also not good for is stability, once un-met spending obligations necessitate difficult choices like those in described in the Michael Lewis article linked to above, those currently occurring in San Bernandino or voted on last year in San Diego and San Jose.

My advice would be to fasten your chinstraps out there.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
What defines "rich"? How much money does a person need to have, or make, to be "rich"?
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

For political purposes in this country, I'd say the definition is transient and viewpoint dependent. Similar to George Carlin's definition of "maniacs" (anyone driving faster) and "idiots" (anyone driving slower) on the highway.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
Funny stuff, Ace you are on a roll! BTW, 100% in agreement with your chinstrap advice.

Anyone else? What defines "rich"??
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Smitty- again- in reality SS is not prt of social entitlement, it is a retirement fund that people pay in to. My buddy retired from the railroad, and they don't pay SS, they have their own retirement fund. I would uess other industries do same.

Where do you live? I ''live in Victoria (halfway between Houston and Corpus Christi for those unknowing) and also dwell part time in Austin.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@digsouth, KLG...glad you're here to do the heavy lifting so I can just lurk in from time to time today. You guys, as always, bring it.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPete the Luddite
US Real Estate is in a "Triple Waterfall Crash" - most secular length crashes occur this way and explain why Geoff is currently seeing buying activity in California.

The 1st stage of the housing crash occurred with the collapse of the credit bubble beginning in 2006.

The 2nd stage of the housing crash will be a fiscal crash resulting in higher interest rates - the US federal government unable to pay its bills or its bondholders. This is related to the federal government coming to the "rescue" of the consumer, allowing for the deleveraging of the consumer by ramping up government debt in its place. We are in the beginning chapters of this.

The 3rd crash will be a monetary crash - this is where governments realize the only way out of a debt overhang is to inflate one's way out. Inflation will send rates even higher, creaming housing prices for a 3rd time. Expect this in about 5-6 years.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSpiced Rum
@Smitty don't be bringing your facts and actual knowledge to a debate with libs. it then becomes an unfair fight. Let them think that we're all guaranteed back everything that we put into SS. Facts about entitlement spending compared to military and how entitlement spending is increasing at an all time high rate should be ignored.

Today during Obama's inauguration speech....all in one breath...he actually said these words

'we need to reduce the debt' and 'we can not make spending cuts but must increase revenues'

We'll never reduce debt if our own president doesn't even believe we have spending problem.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie
''This is all a publicity stunt to promote kpmg. Over/under # of times he mentions his tax advisors in Wednesday's presser. "After guidance from kpmg, I have found a way to pay my burdens and stay here in California." ''

Joe J.- Man this made me chuckle big time--- reminds me of the kid going in the batchroom after his Orphan Annie decoder ring finally arrives---'' son of a bxxxx It's a crummy commercial''

OK -- over under on mentions--- I say 2 name drops and 4 total mentions, assuming you are correct-AND if PM hasn't read Shack and seen you ''breaking the code''.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Slightly awkward moment for Brian Williams on NBC: Al Roker pointing out that the three coldest inaugurations have occurred since 1970. 1976, 1985, & 2009.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmitty

I appreciate your opinion, but where is the money for these future expenditures going to come from? This country is reducing our ability for people to have the jobs that will be necessary to pay into these programs. These programs have no assets, except for working people currently paying. 5000 baby boomers reach 65 every day, for the next 25 years. We do not have enough productive people to meet these future costs. Even if we let in 50 million undocumented people, it will still not be enough.

I am in the Dallas Metroplex, FYI.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmitty
Of note: Both Drudge and Huffington had headlines on Mickelson.

Charlie- resorting to calling names is really weak. ''Libs'' Really? Look at why we are where we are and who is benefiting. Look who owns major interests in holding companies that make weapons. Realize what is actually happening, and not cliche name calling. MAn, everyone here is a liberal and a conservative on different matters..we ALL want less taxes--we ALL want less unemployment. We all want a strong milittary, but here is how I look at it

the military is ''insurance''

Social help is ''food, clothing, and shelter''

If you do not have the latter,, you really don't care a lot about having ''the best insurance''---good will do, if any at all.

We spend far too much on airplanes, that will end up in Arizona, just to begin.

Click on the link.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Very interesting observations there Spiced Rum. All markets will have pockets of strength but generalizing broadly about California real estate based on trends in Beverly Hills is similar to suggesting shopping trends on Madison Avenue between 64th and 78th streets is indicative of retail trends in the rest of New York state....just not the case.

Another big factor in super high profile markets like Beverly Hills or the West Village is a good sized flood international cash & buyers that continually mark up prices. The Inland Empire and Sacramento and Syracuse and such do not have a similar benefit.

Any thoughts yet on what defines "rich"? How much?
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Phil has deep family roots in SoCal, plus young children, and maybe the best year-round weather in the lower 48. 80% chance he does nothing besides complain. 10% chance he becomes a Nevada resident and rents a house in San Diego. 10% chance he becomes an Arizona resident (ASU alum) and rents a house in San Diego. The end.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterScott R.
>>Any thoughts yet on what defines "rich"? How much?

What does it matter?
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWalt Dropo
I say less than 10% on Nevada. Amy will not him that close to gambling!
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn S.
Dig , I get where you are coming from , but know this ....if you can't defend it you don't own it ....that said I agree bring em all home and defend our borders....let Germany , Korea and the rest fend for themselves.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered Commenterhackinator
You never see a hearse towing a UHaul.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAG
The debate in this thread has been terrific reading. But more micro, is the idea that pros will not play in certain states because of tax consequences good PR for Finchem? The Tour has nonprofit status, volunteers run the tournaments, and the pros play a few days, make substantial money, and then leave; Leaving some of the money for taxes which fund the states and municipalities, which, in turn, pay for the police that provide security, emergency crews on stand-by, etc. I have suggestion, have the Tour operate as a for-profit entity, pay the "volunteers", pay the over-time for police, and reduce purses to pay for it.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHBL
Some inspirational stuff here, and some thought provoking conversation.

Smitty, yes I agree with your post, but I see a resurgence in American industry and the till getting filled again;IF we can stop the robbing the middle class and turning America in to a 2 class country. There are very wealthy people , forget about parties, they are a toy that distracts the real power, who feel that poor on the govt hand outs, and them-the ultra rich , is the way it should be.

Sadly a lot of people who are ''small millionaires'' think they are ''rich'', but they are really just upper fringe middle class. And the middle class is endangered, if we don't let the politiciians know we are on to them.

Del- my definition of ''rich'' is coming- like Phil, I just don't want to make myself clear on that subject yet.

Smitty- I used to live in Farmers Branch- I worked for Custom Automotive- a longtime hot rod shop, and then performance parts distributor. Lots of good memories.
01.21.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
what a whiner...either get a real job or do nothing, since one can he assume he should be able to do that with all the money he's already made
01.21.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt

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