If high taxation chases successful people out of the country, that’s the country’s fault. Daniel Mitchell at the Cato Institute likens this to a “fiscal version of blaming the victim.” Obviously, attaching the word “victim” to a billionaire in an age of class warfare is not going to do much to bolster Saverin’s case, but human beings will act in their own self interest. Surely, with every person, there are a host of reasons for making these kinds of decisions – who knows, maybe Saverin hates eating American cuisine or the weather – but once the tax code pushes people away rather than entice them to come, something is wrong.
Earlier this year a study by the Alliance for Savings & Investment, found that the United States has the world’s fourth-highest integrated tax rate on dividends and capital gains — once the effect of the corporate income and state taxes were taken into account the rate 50.8 percent. Only the rates in France and Denmark were higher. That doesn’t sound a like a smart way to attract investment, or keep it.
But even more irksome is the implicit message by some of those complaining about Saverin’s departure. Paying taxes is does not show how grateful you are. Government should have no claim to person’s wealth.