Democrats here in America should get a clue from their leftwing counterparts in Norway. The Norwegian politicians are quickly learning that raising taxes on the rich does not mean you’re going to bring in more tax revenues. It simply means that your country will lose its rich people. Unlike the shrinking middle class, rich Norwegians are simply bailing as their government tries to impose higher and higher “wealth taxes” upon them.
Norwegians who make above $135,000 (in US dollars) per year are classified as “rich” by their government. Folks in that income range are assessed a 0.85% wealth tax on top of all their other income taxes each year. That tax is being hiked to 1.1% later this year by the leftwing Norwegian government. Citizens who make more than $1.8 million are taxed at a rate of 1.3%.
Unfortunately for the Norwegian leftwingers in government, the rich people in Norway are simply hopping on their private jets and getting the heck out of Dodge.
According to newspaper reports, 30 of the wealthiest people picked up stakes and left the country last year before the new schedule of wealth taxes kicked in. The Guardian reported, “This was more than the total number of super-rich people who left the country during the previous 13 years.”
Instead of generating billions in government funds as they had expected, Norway’s government will instead lose tens of millions of dollars in uncollected tax revenues they could have kept if they had simply left the tax rates the same.
A lot of the fleeing Norwegians are running away to Switzerland, which is what rock and roll diva Tina Turner did to escape the progressive taxes here in the United States. Turner, who passed away in Zurich last week, moved to Switzerland and was able to escape the 23.8% exit tax that America would have imposed on her music royalties. She didn’t renounce her US citizenship. She gained Swiss citizenship with the “intent to lose her US citizenship.” That “intent” is how she managed to escape America’s exit tax on wealth. Switzerland is a nice place to live, and she obviously saved a bundle for her kids and grandkids by moving there.
Norway’s wealthiest man, billionaire Kjell Inge Røkke, recently moved to Lugano, Italy to escape his home country’s wealth tax increases. The Norwegian government lost $16 million per year in tax revenues just by chasing Røkke away. Billionaire Tord Ueland Kolstad also fled to Italy. He told a Norwegian news station, “This was not what I wanted, but the toughened and increased tax rules of the current government means that I, as the founder and responsible owner, have no choice.”
Kolstad wasn’t happy about moving, but why would he stay if the government continues to increase reach into his pocket to fund nonsense?
The same thing is happening at the state level here in America. Look at how many wealthy people have been forced to flee high-tax states like New York and California. It’s always the same argument from leftists. The rich are “not paying their fair share.” The rich are not cash cows that the government can continually milk to pay for their increasingly insane, bloated budgets. They’re people, and the rich are smart people, obviously. They’ll just pick up stakes and leave when the government continually tries to unfairly gouge them.
It’s no exaggeration to say that progressive income taxes are unfair. The idea that poor people should pay no taxes and that rich people should pay a higher percentage is straight out of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. It’s a fundamentally anti-American idea. Apparently, it’s also an anti-Norwegian idea.