In 2019, New York hosted 72 billionaires. That figure has declined to 62 in 2023, with smart money fleeing the state due to high taxes and crime. The state of New York depends on the top 1% of earners to pay 42% of its tax burden. New York is already operating in a deficit and has the added burden of hosting tens of thousands of migrants with tax funds.
The top 1% of Americans have an average net worth of $10,815,000. While billionaires earn on investments and not income, states like New York expect top earners to pay 14.8% in income tax. “If you had someone who was earning $100 million [a year] in New York suddenly move to Florida, that’s something like a $11 million-a-year hit per year recurring to the state,” said Ken Girardin, the research director for the Albany-based think tank, Empire Center for Public Policy. The 62 billionaires that remain in New York have a collective net worth of $562.3. Only the top 5% of Americans have a net worth of over a million dollars.
Inflation is hurting those at every class level and people do not want to downgrade their lifestyles. Policymakers want to scream “Eat the rich!” to appease voters who do not understand that the money held by those at the top is needed for a healthy economy. In 2020 alone, when the pandemic struck, New York lost $19.5 billion in taxes from people fleeing the state. California lost $17.8 in tax revenue that year and counting.
We are seeing a wealth migration in the US. This is why I say that markets like real estate cannot be looked at on the national level, as prices in red states continue to rise as blue states have become uninhabitable. This is only taking into consideration individuals as moneymakers are also taking their businesses to states where they do not need to support the welfare system. Around 160 firms have fled Wall Street since 2019, displacing $1 trillion.
Hence, people are saying Miami is the new Wall Street. Lawmakers do not comprehend the impact that this will have on state budgets.
This is precisely what happened prior to the collapse of the Roman Empire. The top 1% half 16% of the empire’s wealth. Wealthy Romans were the first to leave cities when public confidence collapsed. We can see the migration from archaeological finds that saw villas built far from city centers. And even in those days, people felt that the wealthy were selfish for acting in accordance to the invisible hand. As noted in “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by James William Ermatinger: “Their disinclination to leave may have been caused by forced exactions, confiscations, business concerns, tax pressured, or general economic fears, which made protecting one’s own interests seem more prudent than looking out for the interests of others.”
Rome’s Sovereign Debt Crisis is what ultimately led to its collapse. Yet one of the first signs of major trouble was the mass exodus of wealth from the cities.