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Will 'golden geese' taxpayers fly away?

Washington weighing proposals to increase taxes on wealthy.

By Kay Bell Jan 15, 2010 9:09PM

Taxes on higher income earners are getting a lot of attention, as I mentioned in my presentation to a local CPA group recently. A surtax on the wealthy, for example, is part of the House version of health care reform.


But taxes and how they are distributed has long been part of our fiscal and political landscape.


In the last presidential election, Obama set $250,000 as the threshold for defining where the tax hikes would fall. Whether you consider a quarter of a million dollars wealthy depends on a lot of things, including not just your current paycheck or Visa balance, but also your political and social points of view, as well as geography. Many folks who live in major urban areas don't see $250,000 as the wealth jackpot.


So the debate rages on.


Are the wealthy over-taxed? In its analysis last summer of IRS data, the Tax Foundation found that the top 1 percent of taxpayers pay more than the bottom 95 percent.


But those in that 1 percent also benefited greatly from Dubya's tax cuts. A Congressional Budget Office study of the effects of the last Administration's tax cuts soon after they took effect revealed that the biggest tax benefits went to the richest.

Now we have the latest volley in the tax class war.

A Toronto attorney has produced the Flight of the Golden Geese.


According to David Lesperance's video merging of the children's tune Old MacDonald's Farm and Aesop's goose who laid the golden egg fable, when the overburdened goose Goldie gets tired of bearing so many eggs and too much of the farm's burden, she simply flies away.


Of course, notes the Wall Street Journal's The Wealth Report blog, Lesperance is probably the top lawyer in the business of advising wealthy U.S. citizens on how to fly away, er, expatriate to lower-tax countries.


"You can blame Obama or you can blame Bush, but the fact is Washington needs money and they're not going to get it from Joe the Plumber," Lesperence told The Wealth Report. "The tax increases are going to be on the Golden Geese."


Just how many will actually pack up their nests and nest eggs and head for a tax haven farm remains to be seen.


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