California business owner’s ad blasts Obama tax plan

An eye-catching full-page advertisement appeared in The New York Times today from a self-described affluent business owner.

The ad is titled “Why This Fat Cat Likes Obama’s Tax Plan,” but be assured that the heading is tongue-in-cheek.

The writer, Norman Lizt of La Jolla, Calif., says he pulls in “close to eight figures annually” and has built a substantial net worth as a sole, private equity investor. He says he also employs a half-dozen people and contributes to charities.

But Lizt says that if President Obama is reelected and his “redistributionist tax agenda” is achieved, his marginal rate of taxation (he lives in California, and that’s factored in) will edge over 50 percent. That, he says “represents the crossing of an inviolate threshold … and is entirely unacceptable.”

And so, he says, “I probably will simply shutter my business and say my sweet farewells to a half dozen great employees (who are unlikely to equal their current remuneration elsewhere … if they are fortunate enough to get new jobs in this economy).”

Then, he says, will simply ride off into the sunset with his fiancee.

“To Barack Obama, I say thank you …” he concludes, “… for freeing me from the yoke and bondage of my current endeavors and providing a newfound 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!”

46 comments Add your comment


August 20th, 2012
10:06 am

Congratulaitons to you and your fiancee! Where will be headed? Hopefully somewhere warm.

Hal Fleeming

August 20th, 2012
10:11 am

Yeah go and don’t let the door hit your “fat cat” ass on the way out. Another self-important Galt type hits the dust.


August 20th, 2012
10:15 am

So you ignore your financé until Obama’s second term “tax” plan kicks in? Shame on you. Maybe if you invested a little differently you’d find a way to balance your work and your private life. All work and no play, you know Norman? Funny though, how you will be paying over 50% and Romney (who I’m sure this letter is a pitch for) pays only 13%. You need a new accountant, bro!


August 20th, 2012
10:26 am

he is not saying he is paying 50% now, he is saying that after Jan. 1st, he and many other employers will be paying at or more than 50% of thier income to taxes.. The economy dies next year..


August 20th, 2012
10:26 am

What’s wrong with this picture is he spent his money in a newspaper that does everything it can to make the Obama agenda continues to suffocate him and other earners. There are better places he could have spent and could have gotten the same or better result.
The NYTimes is not a friend.

Stephen Ambrosini

August 20th, 2012
10:53 am

This is fascinating. Here’s a guy who makes a ton of money, obviously driven, and cares about bringing value to friends, family and clients. Yet he’s selfish enough so that if his tax bracket goes up 3 points, to what it was under President Clinton, he bails, walks away and lays off his staff. Do they make them more selfish than that? But in reality, after he travels a few times, spends time with his fiancé, and discovers that he has no life, he’ll be back building another business, and maybe rehiring those people he selfishly screwed years ago. As a fellow financial adviser, and after the President wins another term, when you then shut the doors of your practice, I wish you well and also a thank you. Our business has too many self-centered greedy advisers like yourself. It’ll be good to see another fade away.


August 20th, 2012
11:03 am

I did a quick search of this man’s company. It employs 5-9 employees and earned 2.5 million last year. I believe this man has truly an inflated sense of self tied to a narcissistic personality disorder.


August 20th, 2012
11:12 am

It was appalling for President Obama to say that business owner’s “didn’t build that”, and that “somebody else made that happen”. I could not believe he would say those words. I am an entrepreneur and own a small business and I work 7 days a week, over 100/hours per week and I have to be smarter than your average Joe if my business is to survive and thrive. – I could easily get a job making $70K working 45 hours a week but I want more out of life and am willing to risk my time, money, credit, and work my butt of to get it. The President’s words are a slap to my face and others like me. I voted for President Obama in 2008. I will not vote for him during this election. I wish Ron Paul was on the GOP ticket but I will have to choose between the lesser of two evils and my only choice is Romney,


August 20th, 2012
11:24 am

What’s truly galling is that Mr. Lizt dismisses taxes as “charity,” as though he and his business haven’t benefited from infrastructure, schools, power grids, etc., all paid for by taxes. Let this entitled doofus sell the business to someone who cares about more than just him or herself.


August 20th, 2012
11:43 am

Julius, great point, except he didn’t say any of that. And if you can’t understand the difference in what he said, and the way it has been parsed, you, in fact, aren’t smarter than the average Joe.

For the record, Mitt Romney also did not say he likes to fire people or that he doesn’t care about poor people. Context. It isn’t that tough.


August 20th, 2012
12:11 pm

8 figures annually? And he has maybe 12 employees? This is a perfect example of the higher income brackets being more interested in increasing their wealth than creating jobs, which is in agreement with what the Democrats believe, and contradicts the Republican party. Awesome! Thank you Norman Lizt for making that point so clear. We appreciate ya!


August 20th, 2012
12:23 pm

How sad! This poor fat cat has to spend all his remaining life enjoyng the money that his father left him. What a drag?
Dear Mr. Lizt,
did you notice how many of your fellow americans are starving? in California and everywhere in the States. Did you think of building shelters for the homeless and schools for the needy children who are already in the world of illiteracy? Did you think about giving free health insurance to the seniors that can not afford to pay their own medicare? Well, I would leave your golden castle for a few hours a day and walk the street not of La Jolla but may be LA poor section or your dear girlfriend Rachel is too busy shopping on Rodeo drive?
Leave Obama alone and try to do some good on your own instead of threatening to fire the employees of your firm. This is outrageous…. I hope that you will read this comment but may be you are already working with the Republicans to become richer and richer and no tax!


August 20th, 2012
12:25 pm

The fundamental problem with politicians that listen to Keynesian economists (that is basically all of them except Ron Paul) is that they don’t ever think there will be consequences to their economic decisions. The wealthy are already leaving California, New York, and other tax oppressive regimes. Plenty have already left the US with many many more to follow. The capital is already leaving too.

For all of you parasites that say “don’t let the door hit you on the ass”, may I remind you that these are the folks that are paying you to lay around the house all day doing nothing. They are your gravy train. They are the folks that run the businesses, come up with the innovative ideas, etc. that keep our country going. In the end you will blame them rather than lay the blame at the foot of the Republicans and Democrats who both have destroyed our economy and our liberties and our freedoms. And ultimately they have done it with YOUR support and encouragement – for you certainly haven’t spoken up.


August 20th, 2012
12:25 pm

how stupid this is – the guy is 70 – and he got the money to run this from Citizen’s United – thank youSCOTUS – total ca-ca


August 20th, 2012
12:41 pm

If your financee is true to herself she will be pulling the lever for Obama…..Go travel girl!!


August 20th, 2012
1:32 pm

It’s human nature. When conditions reach the point where people see most of the fruits of their labor being siphoned off they’ll just labor less, or not at all. Or cheat, as in underreporting their taxable income.

I understand where Mr. Lizt is coming from. It’s not avarice or greed, but an unwillingness to allow the government to redistribute what he worked for to people who won’t work. Socialism can never replace capitalism.


August 20th, 2012
2:16 pm

There is a difference between selfishness and self-interest. Just saying…


August 20th, 2012
2:30 pm

I will have you know, you egotistical jerk, that I work every day and I don’t wait on anyone to hand me anything. Fortunately, for my own self respect, I don’t sit and wait for others to give me a gravy train and I am sick and tired of you idiots assuming everyone who disagrees with you must be living off of others! You are an insult to every hard working American who doesn’t live by greed as their first and foremost thought when they get up in the morning.

Independent voter

August 20th, 2012
2:59 pm

the election should be a landslide… younger folks, women and minorities most of whom drank the ” hope and change ” Koolaid voted for Obama ( I did )have gone backwards the last 4 years.. Unemployment and under employment is now over 20 % for this group.

Dan Embree

August 20th, 2012
4:45 pm

My father never gave me that pious advice that Norm’s dad gave him: that we are just “custodians of our funds”. That may have been because my dad, a cop, never had any “funds” to distribute when I was a kid. But Norm’s dad — would it be presumptuous to see him as the source of Norm’s financial as well as moral start in life? — passed on to him the ageless aristocratic view of the world: take care (within reason) of your “trusted” servants, distribute some of your largess to lesser beings, and above all, guard the “inviolate threshold” that keeps the rest humanity at a distance. Guys like Norm give whining a bad name.

A Small Business Owner

August 20th, 2012
5:07 pm

I’m a one person marketing operation who focuses exclusively on small businesses across the US. More than 1/3 of my clients are in the medical realm whose practices focus on areas typically no covered by insurance like cosmetic surgery, IVF, etc. Most have cut back significantly, saying they are unsure of their practice until after the election / Obamacare. My non-medical clients have consitently voiced similar uncertainty and marketing budgets have been cutting back /on hold until the election. I have no employees (by choice), but my vendors – web designers, print/outdoor, etc are hurting and laying off, or in some cases, shutting down. I don’t talk politics w/ my clients but we have candid discussions about their business, goals, revenues, etc. I’ve had clients who have been with me for years cry that they were closing and could not pay me – no point in pursuing collections bc there’s nothing there.

People who point to successful business owners and call them greedy have ZERO clue about the amount of work, passion, responsibility an owner has on the line. I’m not “rich”, I’m fortunate that I have very low overhead, but the domino effect is considerable to other businesses and their employees, etc.

Whirled Peas

August 20th, 2012
5:38 pm

You didn’t build that. You need to turn your wealth over to Barak Obama so he can give it to those who need it. The single mother with 5 kids from 5 different men needs funds to provide for those kids. It is not the kids’ fault they have a lousy mother.


August 20th, 2012
5:39 pm

What a typical Republican liar; he brags about how much he gives to charity, but then says he’ll only keep doing it if his taxes don’t go up. What a sc*mbag.


August 20th, 2012
7:11 pm

Waaaaahhh! Go Galt, Norman! Please! This guy’s level of entitlement and self-regard is through the roof. Get over yourself. There are literally millions out there who’d be happy to take over his clients and take home a few million a year for the price of working under the supposedly communist conditions that prevailed the first 35 years of this guy’s career. And they’re just as capable as this Lizt character and won’t whine about it. It’s investment management, big guy, not nuclear physics. It’s a service industry. Go cry yourself to sleep with some Rand fantasy books, and come back to us when you’ve actually contributed something to society a bit commensurate with the grotesque amounts of monetary resources you’ve leeched from it.

“Redistributionist” policy’s been in full effect in this country for the last 30 years; it’s just not going in the direction this whiner thinks it is. The President has simply suggested returning marginal income tax rates to where they were a mere decade ago. And, there is simply no way on Earth this guy will ever have an actual effective rate approaching 50%. That’s almost unfathomable for someone in the investor class, especially with the carried interest rule.

The random, unreliable, collective largesse of those 1% fortunate enough to take 25% of the nation’s collective income, to their favorite pet charities, when they feel like it, is no replacement for actual government. What Lizt wants is, apparently, the unfettered right to practice feudalism in the 21st Century.

William grant

August 20th, 2012
7:28 pm

If he shutters his company he will also be PUTTING HIS SON OUT OF WORK. (Just look at the staff list of LaJolla Cove Investors). Also, his 2nd in command will probably fill his void, since it also states that this person has been overseeing the day-to-day operations since 2000. I say call that BLUFF!


August 20th, 2012
7:55 pm

Obama never said you didn’t build your business. He said you didn’t build the INFRASTRUCTURE that your business relies on: roads, bridges, police and fire protection, educated workforce, etc.

I make a pretty decent living, but I owe it to the public school education my parents’ fellow taxpayers provided. I agree with Obama: I should “pay it forward” and make sure I give the next generation the fair shot I was given. That’s not socialism, that’s common decency.


August 20th, 2012
9:09 pm

Norman- Think of all the charities that could have benefited by the money spent on this idiotic, offensive ad.
Rachel- My sympathy, you could do better!


August 20th, 2012
10:40 pm

Most of you just didn’t get it. He works hard for his money and if he can pay the higher taxes and keep solvent, his workers will have to lose their jobs. Business owners support our economy. Obama gives it away.
The future of our country and the debt will have to be paid by our children and grandchildren.

Wake up America!


August 20th, 2012
11:10 pm

Mr. Litz, you have much to lose. Yet you live on a small portion of it by choice. What human emotion leads you to care what becomes of the rest? I am a pacifist yet I must “Pay unto Ceasar” if you will. Hasn’t that immense military system of Ceasar’s protected your ability to earn and to practice charity as well? Would you like our military budget to be based on “charitable donations” instead of tax dollars? No, I would guess not. Yet you call taxation a form of charity.
Surely, on half your income you could, and possibly already have, made a life for your family and those you love and still contribute to the community on a mere five million in earnings a year. Would anyone at home go hungry? Would you be less stimulated intellectually? Could your skills be applied at a not for profit charity where your comfort and love of travel could easily be assured for the rest of you lives. Would the skills you have passed onto your children evaporate and no longer serve them in their lives if you payed a lager share then you do now or never made another dime? What is the rest of all those yearly earnings of yours doing? If you’r giving it away don’t you receive tax deductions? I understand that you are proud of your diligence and hard work, you say it has been intellectually stimulating. Would it have been intellectually fulfilling if you never made a dime at it? I hope you read some of these responses because both your strengths and your weaknesses are revealed in them. I find that the affluent sometimes lack a sense of “enough”. They do not understand that the “market” is an emotionless and uncompassionate man made mechanism that destroys all but the most able. It should not be applied to social issues which, by definition, require the empathy of all the people we call neighbors. Go get your hands dirty if you want to be charitable. Look the less fortunate right in the eyes and fill a plate. Jesus supposedly said that it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Norm, it might be a tight squeeze there at the last minute if you get my meaning.

[...] here’s a decent description from an Atlanta Journal Constitution blog: An eye-catching full-page advertisement appeared in The New York Times today from a self-described [...]


August 21st, 2012
1:34 am

Don’t you see that Obama’s philosophies are killing the “goose that lays the golden egg”?
The author is not saying he does not want to pay taxes. He is explaining that taking 50% of earned money is a slap in the face and would not be acceptable to anyone in this forum.
In addition, no one is suggesting to abolish taxation. However, the level of misspending is obvious and there must be a point where “we the people” must address our shortcomings (hidden taxes yet to be revealed in Obamacare.)
Please don’t make it a “Democrat/Republican” issue. Obama is a thief in Democrat’s clothing. We did not have this level of divide with Clinton.
Just so you don’t assume my income, I made fifteen thousand dollars last year. I spelled it out so you would not think there was a typo.


August 21st, 2012
7:53 am

A lot of people seem to like to show off about how much money they make. I figure this guy is just another one of those Big Boasters, in the Trump lineage.

I hope he has a nice life and finds a good bar at his new location where he can impress anyone who will listen.


August 21st, 2012
7:55 am

Another guy who likes to boast about how much money he makes, right up their with Trump. This isn’t about taxes, it’s about a guy who wants everyone to know how much money he makes.

Maybe at his new location he’ll find a good bar to sit in and boast about all he has to anyone who will listen.


August 21st, 2012
8:43 am

Anyone who tells you they are a self-made man/woman will lie to you about other things too.

Lt Col Razorback

August 21st, 2012
9:02 am

Ambrosini –

Unless I’m mistaken a private business owner can “bail” whenever he wants, for whatever reason he wants, and however he wants. If his employees lose their jobs, incomes, and employer provided health insurance; that’s what happens when businesses can no longer endure under an ever more oppressive tax rates. If he bails because his income tax goes up 3%, 2%, or 1%, it’s his business. There is, and was, nothing magical about the income tax levels during the Slick Willy administration. You don’t even know if this guy was in business at that time. What you, I, and everyone else should worry about is whether our failure of a President is given an opportunity to fail for 4 more years and, in the process, cause the failure of many other businesses – – businesses that provide jobs, income, and health insurance to thousands, if not millions, of employees.


August 21st, 2012
9:06 am

Hey, before you complain about the amount of taxes anyone pays remember this “most people with a decent income take their financial statements to their tax accountant and that CPA’s job is to take advantage of all legal deductions available. Don’t blame the individual………blame the Congress or IRS that passes laws that allow BIG deductions for rich people……….and the main reason the laws were made in the first place is so the people who passed them can also take advantage of them.


August 21st, 2012
9:23 am

To Kathleen and all the other defenders of Obama’s “you didn’t build that on your own” speech.
First off I’m not defending this guy who sounds like an egotistical jerk, however, all of us, including those business owners, paid for this infrastructure but these business owners are the ones with the guts, dreams and insight to build something out of it and provide jobs to those of us who are too timid, lazy, uninterested, less driven, etc. Instead of being happy commuting to and from home, these guys sought ways to use that infrastructure to their credit because if they didn’t, there would be no jobs, there would be no federal, state or local government and we would all be sleeping under the stars wondering who was going to raid and plunder our tribe. We would be nothing as a nation if we did not have business. If business did not exist, where would your all powerful federal government get it’s revenue? (our problem now is that our government grown to the point that it is spending more than our economy can generate) Does this mean that everything business does is right. No, but Obama’s speech promoted the idea that we all deserve additional rewards because we helped build the infrastructure. Hogwash! We already have been rewarded; it’s called jobs and careers so Obama’s suggestion that we should be rewarded because we helped build that is a pure play to the lazy and ignorant.


August 21st, 2012
12:08 pm

haha big joker :) no one will miss you. you do not contribute anything of value to society that will not be missed. zero sum game.

haha ha ha.


August 21st, 2012
12:14 pm

This political ad (which, although it purports to be just a lil ole letter from just a lil ole small business owner, is certainly a political ad) is misleading in several respects. Others have commented here about his incorrect idea of taxes as a form of charitable giving. The “ad” writer also lumps together Federal and California state taxes (state taxes glossed over) to reach his 50% tax liability. He will be buying U. S. Treasuries which since they are backed by the U. S. government tells me that he still believes in the U. S. government even if Obama is still at the helm. It also tells me that he doesn’t think “the economy dies next year” as one commentator did. As for the taxes on his investments, he is not compelled to invest – let him put his money in the bank like the most of the rest of us have to do to have money on hand to pay for our daily bread. As I read the “ad” on my way to work at a job that doesn’t pay anywhere near 6 figures and which if I work until I’m 100 never will come close to 8 figures, I genually appreciated his giving of his personal wealth of capital and knowlege. (Those full page NYT ads are not cheap!)


August 21st, 2012
7:18 pm

Unfortuantely, many small business owners feel the same way as Norman. He may be fudging a few facts, but myself and many of my friends are scaling back the effort. The argument is not purely normative as most comments seem to be making a claim. Profitable businesses are hard to build by nature, and are measured by after tax cash flow. Taxes wil convert some projects from a positive to a negative net present value. And some projects will not earn the necessary risk premium, which may be a little more subjective. It is just math, and it does mean small businesses much younger and much less will take it easy as there lives will not change much if they never hire another person. Don’t get pissed off if muni bonds which require less risk and zero effort are a better mathmatical choice.


August 21st, 2012
8:13 pm

Good lord, MadMax, are you employed by the SBA? Starting and continuing a successful business is rewarded in this society by money. You don’t also get to be a moral hero, worshipped by the rest of us lazy, unintelligent fools who don’t have the giant brass ones you think you and anyone else who would start a business do. We all pay the taxes for the infrastructure that provides entrepreneurs an educated populace to scoop up the precious jobs they so generously see fit to drop on us, and to buy whatever phenomenally awesome product they and their unique genius and dedication and swashbuckling risk-embracing have gifted the world. And the means to ship it, and the courts to protect intellectual property in it, and the monetary system to count their blessings. Oh, and by the way, some people actually WANT to be doctors, lawyers, artists, teachers, and intellectuals and find that a worthy life’s pursuit. Are they without merit or virtue because they advance within existing institutions instead of breaking off on their own?

A lot of people in this thread seem to be under the impression that capitalism is at existential risk because some have suggested we might address rampant inequality in wealth and try to tackle that portion of the deficit not directly attributable to a massive recession and two unfunded foreign wars by asking those who make 5x the median or more to pay 3% more on the marginal above that. Like they did waaaay back in 2001. The horror. Stop whining. This isn’t communism.

[...] on August 21, 2012 by Victor Stenger In full-page ad in the New York Times on Monday, August 20, titled “Why This Fat Cat Likes Obama’s Tax Plan,” Norman Litz of La Jolla, California [...]

[...] full-page ad in the New York Times on Monday, August 20, titled “Why This Fat Cat Likes Obama’s Tax Plan,” Norman Litz of La Jolla, California [...]

[...] full-page ad in the New York Times on Monday, August 20, titled “Why This Fat Cat Likes Obama’s Tax Plan,” Norman Litz of La Jolla, California [...]


August 22nd, 2012
7:30 am

MCA1 – No I don’t work for the SBA & I am not one of the guys who took those risks. But I don’t think I deserve more because I paid taxes that helped build the roads ets. I have paid my share and it has provided me the infrastructure to live my life the way i wanted. However, I don’t believe for a second that I deserve anything from someone who has been more successful. Why should I? I didn’t do a thing to help them and neither did you unless you bought some of the bonds or early stock offerings.And if you did, you assumed some of that risk and deserve some of the reward. If you didn’t then you have nothing to gripe about. You have had the same opportunity they did but decided not to pursue them and instead become a lawyer, carpenter, teacher, etc. That was your choice but now you somehow feel that you deserve a piece of the pie because Steve Jobs was successful? Congrats, you have bought into the great Obama class warfare that the left says he doesnt wage. What you are asking for a) won’t solve our problems (do the math, raising taxes on just the upper levels will have a negligible impact on the deficit with the assumption that the increased revenues would be used to offset spending which is a huge assumption given our political history) and b) doesn’t make any sense (what you are asking is for the guy at a high stakes pker game to give you a share w/o you risking anything). Like you say, stop whining and take a risk or pack your lunch and go to work.


August 22nd, 2012
1:31 pm

Why are people so jealous about other people success? I mean who in the hell should be paying over 35% of their income in taxes? Some of you Hate Monger, why don’t you pay 60% of your taxes if you believe so much in higher taxes. The IRS doesn’t stop you from paying more taxes? Why force other people to do what you don’t want to do. I am in agreement with the Norman. You Socialist should be first in line with your 60% income.