Taxing the Successful to Death

Ronn Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and respected public relations experts. Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the 25 largest independent American PR firms, which was named PR Agency of the Year by the American Business Awards. He is the best-selling author of “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations,” a book known as an industry “must read.” Torossian is a featured op-ed columnist for The Huffington Post, Newsmax, Wired Magazine and others. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including PR Executive of the Year and is a past semi-finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. Torossian lives in Manhattan with his wife and children. Connect with him on Google+ and Twitter.


Writing this article I am sick to my stomach as my accountant has just left my office completing end of year taxes– literally sick and angered. I am the grandson of Holocaust survivors.  I grew up in a single-parent household in the Bronx and attended New York City public schools. I started working in a local pizzeria at the age of 12, and then attended a state university, which I finished in 3 years while working.  A few years later I started 5WPR out of a 400-square foot office.  Today as I sit here, I am being penalized for my vow as a kid that my family will never want for anything and I will be successful.

December 2012 marks the 10th anniversary since I founded this company as we now employ more than 100 people – and are one of the 20 largest US PR firms.  Thankfully we do well and have healthy margins – I established a family foundation to give charity as I believe it is one’s obligation to give back to their community and important causes.

Yet today, I am sitting in shock after finishing end of year 2012 taxes of which I will pay more than 50% – 35% federal, 8.25 percent New York State taxes, and 4 percent local taxes. Add in Medicare, social security, payroll, workers compensation, NYC commercial rent taxes, payroll tax, and who knows what other tax and it is more than 50 percent. I am being taxed to death.

My employees here work very hard to ensure we succeed – and are paid well. They all received generous end of year bonuses, and rightfully are looking forward to having off December 24th and 25th, December 31st and January 1st, other holidays, have two weeks of vacation and a week of sick time. Of course, there is jury duty which employees have to take, snow days, and all the rest.  By the way, I still pay rent on all of those days. Do successful entrepreneurs not deserve to also be treated as well as they treat their employees?

While office hours are 9 am- 6 pm, I rarely leave the office before 9 pm and have to travel a lot, so I miss my family on weekends and work non-stop thanks to technology.  I am married to my business – hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.  There is no rest; it is constant – and one always has to be the CEO and responsive to the needs of employees.

I work very, very hard – yet my motivation is drained by this constant tax.  Why is it that this country is penalizing me for becoming successful – and being so good to my employees, as I want to be?  I love summers in the south of France – I’d love to spend a lot more time there.  But I’ll be sure to become a resident of Belgium on the border rather than be taxed at an even higher rate than America.

Tonight I am leaving the office early because I am frankly angry – and I’d rather take my family out to dinner than think about all my tax dollars being wasted.

To get home I have to walk by the Occupy Wall Street fools who stand outside of Lloyd Blankfein’s house and yell about how evil he is.  Blankfein, the Chairman of Goldman Sachs who is now a billionaire is also from the Bronx.  He sold pretzels at Yankee Stadium in High School and worked in the Harvard cafeteria before he made money.  How does one explain to their children to work hard and to get ahead in life? Of the need to create a better life? Do I do that by telling them to work super hard so they get taxed?

I love America and am so proud to have been born in this country – but I have to tell you that this ain’t America the great today.  Taxing someone for making it isn’t the American way and surely isn’t what the constitution had in mind.  I am damn mad – and it’s only going to get worse.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • MICHAEL

    GO TO FRANCE AND YOU WILL PAY 75% TAX..CAPITALISM IS FANTASTIC BUT NOT WHEN YOU MIX IT WITH GREED AND CORRUPTION AND THAT'S WALL STREET DOES AND YOU ARE A VICTIM.THE BOOK THE ARROGANCE OF EVIL WILL EXPLAIN.AT AMAZON.

    • Spider

      How about mixing Socialism with GREED and CORRUPTION like Obama does ? Look at the result.

      • scum

        And precisely what Socialism are you referring to? Perhaps the handouts to PRIVATE CORPORATIONS? Or perhaps you're referring to the Insurance mandate, which will lead to the largest number of purchasers of PRIVATE INSURANCE in American history next year. Wake up, bro.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "CAPITALISM IS FANTASTIC BUT NOT WHEN YOU MIX IT WITH GREED AND CORRUPTION AND THAT'S WALL STREET DOES AND YOU ARE A VICTIM."

      Delusional communist.

  • Mary Sue

    Dude, come to Canada. We have NO death tax.

    • mkat68

      I myself have been giving serious consideration to moving to Canada – I’ve found some job listings there for the same kind of work I do now, but with better pay and actual benefits! If only the apartment rent in those places wasn’t so sky-high..

      • scum

        By all means move to Canada. They have stronger socialized medicine for one, a simple fact that silly conservatives failed to realize when they threatened moving to Canada. Do us all a favor and secede.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          "By all means move to Canada. They have stronger socialized medicine for one, "

          Without losing access to private sector options in the USA. Great huh?

          "…a simple fact that silly conservatives failed to realize when they threatened moving to Canada."

          You can't get anything right.

        • Mary Sue

          Canada socialized medicine is better than Obamacare.

          It is not however better than what USA had.

        • kafir4life

          Actually, it's rare that a conservative threatens to leave. Remember all the lefties that "promised" to leave if Bush were reelected? They all lied and stayed here to continue being parasites on our system.
          I'm gussing that you voted for President Stinky (BO). He's a piece of filth, garbage, trash. His ancestors obtained slaves for the traders. In fact, did you know that Stinks and his muslima the Mooch Queen are blood related? Yep! It's true!! Back in the day, Stinky's family had found jobs and transportation for Mocchie's family. Before sending them off on their new adventure, Stink's great great great great grandpappy sought out Moochies great great great great grandmammy as a "belly warmer".

          As to your name, real scum would be insulted to be lumped together with you.

      • Mary Sue

        Vancouver and Toronto rents are pretty terrible. But sometimes you can get a deal, depending on where. The oilpatch you can be rolling in money so fast, you'll forget how much the rent is…

    • F. Swemson

      Yeah, but you freeze your a$$ off while you're still alive!

      fs

      • Mary Sue

        Not in Victoria or Vancouver you won't! XD

  • Philip

    If I were you, I would do a John Galt.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

    Obama sees you as a parasite–a capitalist–who doesn't contribute to the "actual work". You
    "didn't build that" according to him. And you don't deserve your hard earned income. That's what is being taught in school these days.

    We have mob rule where the majority feels free to plunder a minority–the 2% highest earners. It could have been another minority–the 2% who happen to be Jewish. But we have a class-based, not a race-based "tyranny of the majority" … so far. Obama prefers the Bolshevik road to totalitarianism. Minority rights? Not if you a capitalist. Then it's "drive them into the ground" and nationalize their businesses. Welcome to AmeriCCCPa.

  • pierce

    It is too bad there is not a flat tax. Many years ago, and I am dating myself, there existed a Poll Tax, and everyone, whether you voted or not paid the Poll Tax. It supposedly is a privilege to live in the USA, so why not every one pay taxes, the wealthy, and the poor, graduated of course. But for the most part, the poor find it very difficult to go to work, I mean after all, they can't buy a car if they have no money, and because of that they have no ambition to want to work. Let the government give them food stamps, housing, and buy them a car also. That way every one is beholding to the government, Good solution, no no no.

    • scum

      Flat taxes would utterly destroy the social fabric. The particular effect of the tax would be to immediately put a damper on all consumer spending, hardly a presciption for expanding economic activity.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Flat taxes would utterly destroy the social fabric. The particular effect of the tax would be to immediately put a damper on all consumer spending, hardly a presciption for expanding economic activity."

        This is true, but the ideal should be discussed so that we are clear on what direction to take. This "tax the rich" BS is insanity.

        The lies starts off like this:

        1) They don't pay enough

        How do we know? Just look how much they have, and it's more than I have.

        2) I want some of that and according to political leaders, they stole it from me.

        The only conclusion is that their taxes must be raised. It really is that simple, in a tyrannical society. Shades of the French Revolution.

        • Jim_C

          Guys like Mitt Romney pay lower rates than I do. Why? Because of 30 years of the highest paid, most concerted lobbyists in Washington–tax lobbyists. Because of 30 years of regulation and deregulation designed to let those who have more make even more, consequences at the bottom of their employment chain be damned. The earnings of those at the top increased exponentially while the majority of us stagnated and/or took hits to our savings and earnings.

          These guys, contrary to the narrative of the great self-made man, didn't make it alone.

          To say that is not envy. You can paint it how you like. When wealth is concentrated like that, it's no good to anyone except those holding it. And now, thankfully, many of those people are saying "Yes, tax me."

          In the 50s and 60s we had far LESS freedom than we have now. Government regulation was TRULY everywhere. And the top marginal rate was 91%. Yet the economy grew.
          * * *
          On the other hand, though Herman Cain was a joke candidate, I thought there was something to his "9-9-9." It was gimmicky–but maybe somewhere in there is the answer to the labyrinthine tax code.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            "Guys like Mitt Romney pay lower rates than I do."

            Not really. Only be selectively viewing the facts.

            "Why? Because of 30 years of the highest paid, most concerted lobbyists in Washington–tax lobbyists. "

            Because it's good for the country and the global economy to have successful people. If you want "rich" people to pay higher taxes, those extra revenues ought to come purely from consumption. Period. You don't understand economics if you don't understand that statement. Debating further would be pointless unless you were prepared to understand better than you apparently do.

            What did Romney do with his money that hurt you? Please answer that. How much did he contribute in taxes, not rates. How much money did he pay? How much did he consume personally.

            Answer those questions before you propose to use him as an example of what's wrong.

            "The earnings of those at the top increased exponentially while the majority of us stagnated and/or took hits to our savings and earnings. "

            That's quite a condemnation to those who are driven by envy and leftist propaganda. The majority are apparently looking for handouts, or have no clue about finance. Their education failed them, not the IRS.

            "To say that is not envy."

            It certainly is. You've given no evidence at all. NOTHING to say that these people didn't earn it, nor did you show that it's actually bad for anything but your precious feelings…and of course the quasi-religious feelings of other leftists.

            "You can paint it how you like."

            Your argument is purely subjective. You've given me no reason to "paint" anything. You've already exposed yourself. I merely used words to hold a mirror up for you.

            "When wealth is concentrated like that"

            Like your little narrative?

            "it's no good to anyone except those holding it"

            Totally false and overly simplistic. You didn't talk about "holding," you started talking about income tax. Now you can't even distinguish between income and holdings and we're supposed to take anything you say about tax policy seriously? Come on man. You haven't a clue about anything other than your own jealousy that you've misidentified as righteous indignation thanks to your leftist indoctrination.

            "And now, thankfully, many of those people are saying "Yes, tax me.""

            You are so clueless. Those who say that have already made arrangements. What a tool you are. Every time someone opens their mouths about raising taxes, they're not talking about their own money. Only those programmed in collectivism would think that Bill Gates Sr. speaks for an entire "class" of people. It's not like he has to worry about his descendants anyway at this point. So sure, a few people who already have no much money they literally can't give it away fast enough, don't mind suggesting that others be coerced so they can be a hero and spotlight how generous they are. They're so friggin narcissistic.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            "In the 50s and 60s we had far LESS freedom than we have now. Government regulation was TRULY everywhere. And the top marginal rate was 91%. Yet the economy grew. "
            "On the other hand, though Herman Cain was a joke candidate, I thought there was something to his "9-9-9." It was gimmicky–but maybe somewhere in there is the answer to the labyrinthine tax code.""

            And gas cost less, cigarettes tea and whatever. Who cares? You can't throw out a few simple statistics as if you've made some useful correlation worth discussing.

            The problem is that the politicians are making emotional collectivist arguments, and most of their various constituents are taking the bait. It's totally unfair to most taxpayers to follow 0'Bama's tax and other economic policies, but as long as he can blame others, nothing else matters to leftists who can't tell any difference.

          • Mary Sue

            Do you even grasp that the reason many "rich" people pay less INCOME taxes (not overall taxes!) is because the bulk of their money is not classified as "income" under the Income Tax Act?

      • Mary Sue

        ROFL.

        Go back to school and take proper Economics.

  • Joey Richards

    Great brilliant article by Ronn Torossian. Congrats Ronn for building your business.

  • http://sma-mainstreeteconomy.blogspot.com/2010/10/on-maine-web-news-candidates-discuss.html Mackenziella

    It is clear to me that Obama has zero interest in bringing the United States economy back to health. Obama is motivated to extract all capital, wealth, and private property out of the private sector and into the hands of government as fast as he can as long as he has the power to do so. this is the very definition of communism. Obama has borrowed a page right out of the Communist Manifesto in his campaign to rev up class warfare in the United States. The ultimate end result will be the complete annihilation of the American dream. First the wealth of the private sector will be extracted by taxation and then new laws will be instituted to make private ownership illegal with the possible exception of the power elite of "the party".

    America must impeach this president for which there are already abundant reasons to do so.

    • scum

      Indeed, you are the lunatic fringe with that silly post.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Indeed, you are the lunatic fringe with that silly post."

        Indeed, you are projecting in your critique of that post.

        I may not agree with his conclusions precisely, but there are plenty of reasons for anyone to suggest what he did.

        • Mary Sue

          hehe out of my head XD I was going to pretty much say the exact same thing as your first sentence (after his quote).

      • Mary Sue

        You on the other hand have your head in the sand.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "It is clear to me that Obama has zero interest in bringing the United States economy back to health. "

      I say this a lot, but I think that leftists ruining our education standards might be something to consider. Leftists treat wealth like they confused it with the laws of thermodynamics.

      OTOH, some of those leftists know that this fallacious belief and resulting attitude will destroy the economy, and they want that. Therefore they do nothing to educate their political peers.

      Which is 0'Bama, evil, stupid, or some combination? I think he gets far too much credit for his intelligence. I think he's an average person who was feted for all the wrong reasons because of who he was and who he could be made in to according to the opportunities that unfolded. I also think he's been owned by the Saudis since his college expenses were paid for by them.

      By the way, he's an average person who got average or below average grades at a radical leftist university. He's as dangerous as they get. It almost doesn't matter how aware he is about these dangers. We have already observed the harm he causes. The visible signs of damage will start to appear more quickly as the effects accelerate.

      We might be going down hard.

  • patron

    High taxes additionally grow a shadow economy. Organized crime, drug dealers, and prostitutes thrive on the criminal side. Grafters, like the current green energy companies, fraudulent charities, unions, Google, Warren Buffet, broadcast companies and GE thrive as well because not only do they pay zero taxes, but receive taxpayer dollars in government subsidizes.

    • scum

      That's precisely why taxes need to by lowered for the 99%.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "That's precisely why taxes need to by lowered for the 99%."

        Only the delusional lunatic fringe thinkers would make such simplistic statements. We need to lower taxes for "the 100%." You obviously have no clue, and I mean zero clue as to the facts of the matter and are familiar ONLY with political rhetoric. You accept the rhetoric from the left, and reject the rhetoric from the right. You then buzz around here like a little troll, without recognizing that's all you are.

        DSMF.

      • Mary Sue

        The bottom 50% of the 99% DO NOT PAY ANY in the first place!

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "High taxes additionally grow a shadow economy. Organized crime, drug dealers, and prostitutes thrive on the criminal side."

      Totally. Look at any other quasi-developed nation for examples.

    • scum

      You're right, time to shut down the military industrial complex that's been bilking your pocketbook for the last 50 years. Do you have any idea how much bling bling it costs to feed and house 33,000 US troops stationed in South Korea, EVERYDAY FOR 50 YEARS. The anwer: A veritable boatload.

  • NAHALKIDES

    Dear Ronn – you have already taken the first step forward by being angry about being exploited by the Progressive Left. It's time that the productive class got good and angry – unlike the Occupunks and organized labor, we're justified in being angry about how we're being treated. In other words, it's time to make the moral case for capitalism – something Republicans (even conservatives) have been reluctant to do.

    No one is "entitled" to entitlements, or to cushy public-sector jobs dispensing them. It's time we said so – out loud.

    • scum

      No class has a greater sense of being entitled than the super-rich who look upon you with disdain and expect you to wipe their you-know-what.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "No class has a greater sense of being entitled than the super-rich who look upon you with disdain and expect you to wipe their you-know-what."

        In your envy-driven, entirely 100% subjective and delusional opinion. That means your words have zero value.

        Start over in remedial math.

        "Yes, I'm rich because I stood in line for my "rich stamps" and my "wealth" handouts." That's how it works.

        Unbelievable how stupid people can be in America. It's just shocking.

      • Mary Sue

        No class has a greater sense of being entitled than the class that thinks it's entitled to other people's money via Government Fiat.

    • scum

      No one is more "Entitled" than the super rich divas with their offshore bank accounts. Get real, dude. Wake up now!

  • F. Swemson

    Atlas is shrugging… your time has come.

    Cash in, close the business, and quit working for the Marxists!

    They need you more than you need them.

    fs

  • Thomas Wells

    It's your own damn fault. If you were not so blasted competent, disciplined ,and hard working; you could take it easy living off of the work of others.

  • Dennis Metz

    they keep rewarding blacks for overpopulationg the earth and the cities with their thugery and they want to keep the little welfare hoes breeding so they can one day breed enough rats to have the majority so they can start killing the whites like jamie fox suggested

    they also have to tax workers more so they can achieve that goal

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "they keep rewarding blacks for overpopulationg the earth and the cities with their thugery"

      Don't lower yourself to their collectivist thinking. Fight collectivism. It's leftist culture that they nurture, and class victims. We need to motivate people to make better choices, not condemn them for choices they were unable to make.

      I know that confuses people some times, but life is not always so simple as skin color. Generally, it's about culture and people who choose to invest their lives in racial identity rather than finding out the best way to live their lives.

    • scum

      Too bad more Red State whites are on welfare than Blacks, a simple fact that seems to elude the identity politics of FPM

  • Ghostwriter

    It's a shame you feel that way sir. I hope things improve for you. As for Dennis Metz,your statement is disgusting,inaccurate,and dumb. Please go back to Stormfront where you belong.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “How does one explain to their children to work hard and to get ahead in life? Of the need to create a better life? Do I do that by telling them to work super hard so they get taxed?”

    No. You first yell at the “Occupy” crowd and tell them to get jobs so that taxes are not so high as to be punitive, and then others will also keep their motivation to work hard too..

    How shameful to sit around yelling at people due to envy, just because you have a large enough crowd of other shameful people to agree with you?

    All thanks to Soviet propaganda and people in America too stupid to recognize it.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "How does one explain to their children to work hard and to get ahead in life? Of the need to create a better life? Do I do that by telling them to work super hard so they get taxed?"

    No. You first yell at the "Occupy" crowd and tell them to get jobs so that taxes are not so high as to be punitive, and then others will also keep their motivation to work hard too..

    How shameful to sit around yelling at people due to envy, just because you have a large enough crowd of other shameful people to agree with you?

    All thanks to Soviet propaganda and people in America too stupid to recognize it.

  • Joey Johnson

    Brilliant article by Ronn Torossian. Entrepreneurs like him should be running for office.

    • scum

      No, if you're so brilliant in business, continue doing what you're good at. No one seems to understand this – even Romney "Epic Fail" Junior.

  • JacksonPearson

    Sadly Mr. Torossian, you're being punished for being successful, and having to pay for socialist, social engineering programs, that are incrementally killing America off.

    "The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." –Norman Thomas

  • Madeleine

    uptil I saw the receipt of $9908, I be certain that…my… mother in law woz like they say truly bringing home money part-time on their laptop.. there moms best frend started doing this less than ten months and just cleard the mortgage on their mini mansion and bourt a gorgeous Lotus Elan. read more at……. Bit40.ℂOℳ

  • scum

    Ronn clearly wants to tax the poor at a higher rate.

  • TheZohan

    "Tonight I am leaving the office early because I am frankly angry" – This is how the shrugging begins. Hello, Atlas-who-shrugs.

  • Richard11

    Ronn Torossian expressing his feelings is something more CEO’s should do. If people like this keep speaking out change can come. Liberals are ruining this country.

  • Joseph Goldman

    I’m sorry you are so confused my friend. Taxes are not a penalty. They are a social contract that we pay because we love our country and our fellow Americans and want the country (and out local communities) to function at its best, our infrastructure and the education of all of our children to be the best in the world.