Yachts are in the news. Usually to show how office holders or candidates for office, are often the proud owners of luxury yachts, it being implied that they are not often enough the responsible representatives of the people.
I take much of the following information regarding yachts in the news from Gail Collin’s recent op ed piece in the Times, Campaigns in Troubled Waters.
We see Senator John Kerry trying to avoid Massachusetts taxes on his new $7 million yacht by docking it in neighboring Rhode Island.
We learn that Connecticut gubernatorial candidate, Tom Foley has his 100 foot yacht registered in the Marshall Islands (to avoid Connecticut taxes?).
And we learn that Linda McMahon, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Connecticut has named her yacht, the Sexy Bitch.
The Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Florida, Jeff Greene, is the owner of the 145 foot yacht, Summerwind, that which seems to float around the world by itself, hosting wild parties, while Jeff is touring historic monuments or visiting Jewish houses of worship.
Finally, Rick Scott, candidate for governor of Florida and himself the owner of only a 28 footer, while speaking to a Republican dinner crowd at the Sarasota Yacht Club tries to whip up his audience by saying that he has lived the American dream, which in this audience probably means being the proud owner of a yacht.
So what are we to conclude, that candidates and office holders are interested first of all in yachts, and only secondarily in the people whom they would represent? Perhaps.
But we could turn this around and ask what’s wrong with yacht ownership, or even seeking to pay fewer taxes and registering our boat there where taxes are less?
Kimberly Dennis in a Wall Street Journal piece, Gates and Buffett Take the Pledge, points out that buying a yacht creates jobs for yacht builders. Why if everyone were to purchase a yacht how many new jobs would that mean?
So these Senate and gubernatorial candidates may be onto something. When absolutely everyone in Washington is desperately looking for ways to lower the unemployment rate these people have done something about it.
Kimberly’s article is in response to Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s call to their fellow billionaires to donate at least half of their wealth to charity. Forty have responded favorably.
This is seen as an admirable “giving back.” But Kimberly asks the question, why is it a giving back, let alone why is such “admirable?” In any case what did Bill Gates or Warren Buffett ever take from us that they now have to give it back?
Rather they never took anything from us, but gave to us — Bill Gates changing the way we, in fact the whole world, create and share knowledge, and Warren Buffett starting and growing innumerable profitable enterprises—and thus by their efforts enriching many others, besides Bill Gates and Warren Buffett themselves.
When we complain about how politicians protect and spend their money, about the luxury yachts that many of them seem to own, we ought to think again, and say, isn’t this America?
Earning and spending one’s money in whatever way one wants is what America is most about. And this way of doing things, not government programs funded by the people’s money, is how most American jobs are created.