Monarchy……

July 19, 2013

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MonarchDutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima appear on the balcony of the Royal Palace with their children, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, April 30, 2013. Willem-Alexander is not only the monarch of the Netherlands but also the Dutch Caribbean territories of Curacao, Aruba and Saint Maarten. He holds several military titles but requested an honorable discharge.

Source: Dutch Abdication: Willem-Alexander Becomes Europe’s Youngest Monarch | The Netherlands New King | TIME.com.

I just can’t understand the allure of a monarchy but I know that many are infatuated with them.  My wife stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to see british royalty weddings. Maybe I am just too American to understand why people would voluntarily pay taxes to keep particular families living in utter opulence. I’m sure King Willem and the wife and kids appreciate all they are given  by the people of the Netherlands but I just think they need to go out and get a real job. 🙂

One of the things that has made the USA successful democracy is “Equality of Condition” at least that is what Alexis De Tocqueville concluded in his book entitled “Democracy in America” in 1831. (BTW, this is a great book to read if you are interested in some of the core reasons we became what we are as a country.) He believed that the lack of a history of privileged classes is what allowed us to prosper as a democracy where many other failed. I will be talking much more about this and other historical things related to our condition in a new blog coming soon.

We may not have an official aristocracy but we seem to be getting close to one via our tax codes. When we allow millions and in some cases billions of dollars to pass tax-free from one generation to the next we are building our own version of aristocracy.  Previous generations understood what Mr. De Tocqueville found and had a pretty stiff inheritance tax in place to prevent the passing of unearned income from one generation to the next.  But then came the spin of “the death tax” that too many of us swallowed hook, line and sinker.  Even if many of us don’t have the big bucks we irrationally dream that someday we just might and would also want to keep it all for our clan instead of going back tot he public domain from where it came.

So, here is to you King Willem. May you continue to live on all the welfare as long as you can….

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4 responses to Monarchy……

  1. 

    I don’t know if there is a reasonable explanation for the endurance of monarchy. But, I am sure it comes from a deep emotional attachment to history and ritual. In addition, the royals provide interesting distraction for the people. The monarchy is largely theatrical…costumes, castles, performances. They “represent” the society of the country. So as long as they show love back to the people and do not abuse their position…we love them. We rejoice in their triumphs, criticize them when they fail, and mourn them when they die. They are like family…the rich mysterious side of the family:-) And in a constantly changing world they are a constant and comforting presence.
    The cost may one day mean their end but apparently not quite yet.
    At least that’s my take on the whole business.

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    • 

      Jane, thanks for your thoughts in this area. Yeah, maybe it is a social thing that us guys don’t appreciate as much as the gals do. Of course monarchies were not always social in nature. Some did a lot of serious damage to the world and the people under their feet.

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  2. 

    I forgot to add that I don’t entirely agree with you on the passage of money thru the family. As long as it’s honestly earned I don’t know why it should be heavily taxed…or stolen….when one dies. Why do we have to go to great lengths to outwit the tax man in order to give our heirs “our” money? While I may envy the honest rich folk…I don’t want to rob them.

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    • 

      I know we fundamentally disagree on this one Jane. But isn’t it nice that we can do so in a civil manner. In light of this post, it is kind of interesting that England taxes their inherited wealth much higher than we do. To me inheritance is simple unearned income when it leaves the husband/wife team. But then again we in the U.S. tax income by the sweat of the brow at a higher rate than that received as a gift or at least not worked for. I have never understood this other than the lobbying power of the insanely rich…. But then again you are certainly entitled to your take on passing riches from one generation to another…

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