Today’s American politicians are clearly trying to keep up with the Joneses – or in this case, with the House of Windsor.
Or so it seems. The death of Elizabeth reminds us that the Windsors are among the wealthiest families (or clans) on the whole planet – not even counting what they are paid by their subjects through taxation as levied by Parliament – that is, the House of Commons. (The House of Lords today being little more than a very formal (and expensive) stage show.) Much of their conspicuous consumption is paid out of their own pockets. Even if it is revenue from ill-gotten gains of past centuries and very long-term investments that surely were based on insider information!
But American politicians and political leaders have more in common with the politically-powerful elites of third-world countries. And the various past and present socialist utopias: Cuba, the DR Korea, China, and sundry banana republics of Latin America, arbitrary nations of Africa and the Middle East, etc. Their consumption (and arrogance) is supported by real-time extortion from taxpayers – and of course, “borrowing” money from future generations.
And chief among the Kleptocrats today is good ole “Lunchbucket Joe” – Uncle Joe of Delaware. His latest example of theft (moral theft, not legal theft, I admit) was his one-and-a-quarter-hour visit to his home State of Delaware. Riding Air Force One, which costs almost $180,000/hour in direct operating costs. Add in the cost of two motorcades, throw in Marine One lifts to and from Joint Base Andrews, and everything else? In less than four hours he probably easily blew a half-million dollars.
A half-million dollars! That is the annual income of TEN American working-class families – BEFORE taxes. (And about twenty times my own personal take-home after expenses.)
Why? So he could vote in the Delaware Democratic Party Primary – for a person in the ONE contested nomination – State Auditor. (Oh, and maybe to pick up something he forgot at home on his last visit – he stopped there for a few minutes. Hey, we all get forgetful as we get old. Maybe it was his favorite tie-tack or something. Or his share as the “Big Guy” of Hunter’s latest gleaning of the fields.)
It isn’t just that he could have voted absentee (after all, he does have people to help him remember things like that) or had the Secret Service detail at his house send the tie-tack in a diplomatic bag. He could have NOT voted: the winner, a Ms. York, had 69% of the vote against the convicted incumbent Auditor. Convicted of what? Corruption. Gee, what a surprise. (That she got convicted, I mean.) Or someone could have done it for him – I understand that his party has that all figured out.
But he could have saved us a fortune (at least in my eyes) if he’d just used Marine One, the presidential helicopter. It is 79 miles from Andrews to Dover, and a few more from the White House to 1209 Barley Mill Rd, Wilmington, DE 19807. (112 miles by highway.) Even a motorcade would have been a lot cheaper, and he could still have napped the whole way. And I would bet less time, too.
But it isn’t about silly things like saving time and money. That is not what kleptocrats do. In that they are like big-roller gamblers or pimps: it is all about conspicuous consumption. Showing off their power, their wealth, their importance. All paid for by the little people, directly or indirectly. Whether (as for rock musicians and movie stars) by buying tickets, (for TV talking heads) by buying what is advertised, hookers selling their bodies, or – in the case of politicians, by robbing people through taxes. That is, having the threat of thugs going around and locking you up (or shooting you) unless you pay all these governments money- rent for the property you “own,” licensing fees for the “privilege” of working in your profession, income taxes which amount to fractional slavery: your time and effort without getting paid for it all.
Because the natural state of mind of government officials is that of a thief. Especially elected officials, and especially those who go to DC. Yes, they boast about how they serve the public, how they protect our land and our rights and how they are saving the world one day at a time. But always, they don’t really explain the price – and what they reap from scalping the little people. And little businesses.
And yet, we are so silly. We keep electing and supporting and paying for them: not just their salaries, but all the money we donate (directly or indirectly) to get them into office in the first place. And pat ourselves on the back telling each other how great democracy is and how blessed we are to be “free.”