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Paterson Stops Loathing the Rich, A Little Too Late

by on September 29, 2009

>It figures: David Paterson starts to get it as soon as he’s politically toast. New Yorkers don’t appreciate President Obama basically encouraging the governor to spend more time with his family. But the same story notes that this doesn’t mean they like the state’s leader:

>Just 17 percent of voters say he is doing a good or excellent job, down from 20 percent earlier this month. Forty-four percent say his performance is poor.

>The sharks are circling Paterson’s underground bunker, and we can mix in every other doom-related cliché, too. With desperation in mind and nowhere to turn, he’s resorted to. . . leaning rightward? A story highlighted by the conservative Red State blog points out that Paterson is surrendering the class war:

>“You heard the mantra, ‘Tax the rich, tax the rich,’” Gov. David Paterson said Wednesday at a gathering of newspaper editors at an Associated Press event in Syracuse. “We’ve done that. We’ve probably lost jobs and driven people out of the state.”

>The initial reaction is, well, duh? The only surprising thing is that it took the governor this long to figure out that we can only punish people so much for being successful. He’s 55 years old and has been running for political offices since 1985, so this is an odd time for him to suddenly wise up. It’s not as if ripping off the wealthy is a new phenomenon:

>According to the Manhattan Institute, the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers paid 41 percent of all state income taxes before the new tax rates were approved.

>New York’s John Galts can only take so much. The natural result of confiscating income at will is that certain fat cats choose to no longer live in New York for at least 183 days of the year:

>Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano, the Paychex founder and billionaire who was paying $13,000 a day in New York income taxes, and media mogul Rush Limbaugh became ex-New Yorkers this year.


Even liberals who think Limbaugh can’t be the Devil only because George W. Bush holds the title surely miss his money. The fact the state no longer has his contributions to waste counts as an amusing win for the right.

>Nonetheless, the governor’s statement indicates that he is agreeably willing to let experience trump his shaky ideology. The state’s other leaders should join Paterson in his moment of clarity. That’s unless they truly still can’t tell that they’ve signed as free agents with the Washington Generals.

>Albany is buying HD DVD players in a Blu-ray world. We’re not alone in pursuing what’s proven to be obsolete. Of the three states with the largest populations, two are currently taxed and regulated into stupors; the other has a business-friendly and tax-averse reputation. By chance, the big-government outposts of New York and California are racing each other down the drain while conservative laboratory Texas is flourishing. At the same time, fourth-place Florida just happens to not have an income tax; watch them gain on us.

>Paterson apparently just realized he wanted to head along the same path taken by muggier, more successful states. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t realize a little earlier that soaking the rich eventually drenches everyone. If he had done so from the beginning of his sort-of term, he could have patched together a coalition of economic conservatives, moderate Democrats, and realists who have seen that progressive taxes are crumbling the Empire State. He might even have increased his popularity and given himself a reasonable chance to actually win the governorship.

>Unfortunately for both him and us, he probably doesn’t have enough time to initiate a low-tax movement: Paterson is likely losing his current job regardless of whether he becomes a lame duck after the primary or general election. Eh, he probably would have stamped any attempt at fighting excessive levies with his gubernatorial signature, namely figuring a way to do it wrong and make everyone dislike him anyway.

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