President Barack Obama’s campaign to raise tax rates on the top 2% will cause far more economic pain to the 98% than to the truly rich. First, the truly rich have already demonstrated their ability to avoid much of the Obama tax hikes. At the same time, the higher marginal tax rates he demands will reduce the opportunities for economic activity, leading to slower growth and fewer job opportunities for the 98%. Finally, those with high incomes inevitably will shift much of the burden of Obama tax hike to those with lower incomes.
Let’s start with the ruse that the truly rich (as opposed to those who may make more than $250,000 in a single year of their life) will pay a lot more. These individuals have many ways to avoid the now higher tax rates. The perfect case in point is Costco co-founder, director and former CEO Jim Sinegal. In a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Sinegal explained why he supported President Obama:
Business needs a president who has covered businesses’ backs. A president who understands what the private sector needs to succeed. A president who takes the long view and makes the tough decisions. And that’s why I am here tonight supporting President Obama, a president making an economy built to last. See, in order for companies like Costco to invest, grow, hire and flourish, the conditions have to be right. That requires something from all of us. (Emphasis added.)
Well, apparently all of us except Mr. Sinegal and his truly wealthy fellow Costco Board Members, who include such advocates for higher taxes as William Gates Sr. and Charles Munger.
Last Wednesday, Costco announced that it would borrow $3.5 billion so that it could pay a special dividend of $7 a share before the end of the year. Call it a six-year advance on the company’s current annual dividend of $1.10 per share. According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Sinegal owns two million shares, and will collect $14 million which will be taxed at the current 15% rate instead of the 43.4% rate called for by the President he supports. By paying out the dividend before year end, Mr. Sinegal alone will avoid paying $4 million in taxes to support all that he favored in his Convention speech: government funded education, innovation and research, affordable energy, safe and efficient transportation system, and, of course, paying down the government’s debt.
Read More at forbes.com . By Charles Kadlec.