Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Why this Fat Cat Likes Obama's Tax Plan"

 By Norman Lizt
(Full Page ad in the New York Times, August 20, 2012)

I certainly don't qualify for the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list, but it surely feels that way. With my income averaging close to eight figures annually for the past seven years and with personal expenditures comprising about 2% of such income (thereby qualifying me for a potential Forbes list of America's wealthiest tightwads), I have built a net worth far above anything to which I ever aspired. I simply don't know how to spend money (nor do I enjoy doing so), having purchased only one residence (a condo) in the past 40 years, one used car in 25 years, and detest wasting my time shopping. My one passion, travel, accounts for about half my expenditures.

I find my work as a sole, private equity investor challenging and intellectually stimulating and especially enjoy mentoring and interacting with my small staff of trusted employees. My father long ago taught me that individuals are nothing more than custodians of their funds, ultimately to be passed down to future generations, especially the less fortunate. I have taken this to heart and have aspired to a legacy goal of ultimately leaving $50 million to various charities. And with continued good fortune, perhaps higher.

My one significant regret (profoundly shared by my fiancee, Rachel Martin) is that my diligent and compulsive pursuit of my goals does not leave enough time to smell the rose. She wishes to travel more and she may very well achieve her wish! Assuming Barack Obama wins reelection and successfully achieves his redistributionist tax agenda ( with 39%+ marginal rates plus a 3.8% tax on investment income plus substantially high dividend and capital gains rates), I will find myself, when my high California taxes are added in, at a marginal rate of taxation well over 50%. This represents the crossing of an inviolate threshold to me and is entirely unacceptable. I realize paying taxes is a form of charitable giving in a sense, but if I'm the one that's doing the work and tendering the money, then I want to be the one who chooses the charity.

Consequently, should these tax laws go into effect, I probably will simply shutter my business and say my sweet farewells to half a dozen great employees (who are unlikely to equal their current remuneration elsewhere... if they are fortunate enough to get new jobs in this economy). I will then take my money and instead of productively employing it in venture capital, will stick it in short-term U.S. Treasuries, providing me with a moderately safe, extremely low-yielding investment on which the high tax rates are moot since there's virtually no income to tax.

And Rachel will get her dream come true, since I will finally be free of my compulsive financial pursuits, and health permitting we will live the luxurious lifestyle we both feel we deserve.

To the many charities which ultimately will have to settle for about half of what they could have received... my profound and deepest apologies. For the medical innovations which may be years delayed, the music which may never be performed, the shelter that might not be offered, I grieve. To Barack Obama, I say thank you... for freeing me from the yoke and bondage of my current endeavors and providing a new found freedom. I just hope, however, that there are not thousands and thousands of others in the same position as I am in... the multiplier effect on jobs, the economy and charitable giving could be devastating!

Norman Lizt
PO Box 1423 
La Jolla, CA

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for reproducing the letter. I thought it was fantastic.