Flight of the Millionaires

By Bill Maher

The business muppets (I'm sorry, "conservative intellectuals") are always warning us that taxing very rich people will lead to devastating consequences, like they'll lose interest in being very rich. Or, even worse, they'll move. (This fantasy is accepted as fact by purse dogs like Rick Perry, which is why he keeps cold calling Malibu to talk about Waco.) 

Turns out not to be true, though. Turns out very rich people like living somewhere nice. Something called "New World Wealth" just issued a report on millionaire migration since 2003. Here's where rich people have moved:

Countries that gained the most millionaires from other places 2003-2013: 

1) UK         114,100
2) Singapore     45,000
3) US         42,000
4) Australia     22,200
5) Hong Kong     22,200

Here's the top individual tax bracket for each of those places:
UK            45%
Singapore        20%
US            39.6%    
Australia        45%
Hong Kong     15%  
 

Okay, Singapore and Hong Kong have very low taxes, but their only amenities are subway frottage and eating lamprey on the street. England's nice, though, as is Australia and many parts of the US. And yes, there are lots of other tax variables. But here's my point: America doesn't have to lower its taxes to compete with Singapore for Eurotrash. That's not how rich people think. Most rich people want to live places where the air doesn't kill their cleaning slaves and exotic pets. Somewhere with roads and schools and a limited number of kidnappings, where an oligarch's horrible children can run over the locals.

76,200 millionaires have left China since 2003. 43,400 have left India. 14,000 have left Russia. I'm pretty sure that, except for Gerard Depardieu, no one from here has pulled up stakes to enjoy retiring there.