Friday, September 16, 2005

The Octopus

"Our society has facilitated wealth-building by creating order, protecting freedom, creating laws to govern property relations and our marketplace, and investing in an educated work force. What's wrong with the most successful people putting one-quarter of their wealth back into the place that made their wealth and success possible?"

-Bill Gates-

A while back, there was a fad for license plate frames telling you about the owner’s other car. My Other Car is a Rolls eventually was joined by the usually more honest: My Other Car is a Piece of Crap Too frame.

I live in boating country, and megayachts owned by local sports and entertainment figures are a common sight, but I’ve yet to see any yacht display a My Other Yacht is. . . sign of any kind. Still, I would like to see Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen give it a try. His three hundred foot megayacht Tatoosh carries a 30-person crew, two helicopters, a swimming pool, a spa, a private movie theater, six other surface boats (including a separate 54-foot racing yacht and two Hobie Cat catamarans) and a submarine. You should see his other boat.

Feeling, no doubt, a bit bourgeois with a yacht that was no longer the world’s second largest; Allen leapfrogged the Sultan of Dubai and the founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison, by purchasing Octopus. At 413 feet, it’s just over half the length of the Titanic. Seven decks it has, a crew of 60, including several former Navy SEALs, seven other on-board boats, a basketball court, the obligatory movie theater and swimming pool, and two submarines, one of which can stay two weeks on the ocean floor. And then there’s his two 757 airlines and his other, other megayacht, but you get the point. The very rich are different from you and me.

My other point is that with the help of Rush Limbaugh, the angry rabble rousers on AM radio, Fox News and the Republican Party, their kids will be richer yet because Allen can pass those boats, airliners and all his immense fortune on to them free of tax. The need to establish dynasties is a primary concern with the Republicans and not just because they hope to found them for their families. With the creation of gigantic fortunes and the political power that accrues to them, they hope to use that power and pay for its use with further gifts and perquisites and grants. This, “trickle down my leg” economics notwithstanding, leaves the cost of government on the shoulders of the not-so-rich who are a bit more like you and me.

The GOP would like you to believe that the Estate Tax destroys small fortunes and breaks up family farms, although that’s not actually true. They are not suggesting increasing the marital deduction; they’re talking about scrapping the tax and lying about why. The fact that they’ve made personal bankruptcy so much harder to declare shows they simply don’t care. Paul Allen made his fortune before the Bush tax cuts and people will continue to prosper when they are eliminated.

Perhaps recent events will help people conclude that our country can’t afford to take care of itself when our Government spends and wastes vastly more than it brings in and help them to decide to throw the crooks out, but I doubt it. I’m a cynic for a good reason.


"How can I go to the bathroom when my people are in Bondage?"
-Saddam Hussein-

"I think I need a bathroom break."
-George Bush-

Fogghorn Award

If I were in the business of giving awards for clearing the fog, top honors for the week would go to Christopher Cooper, the wise man from Wiscasset. Every once and a while, I read something that's so good, it just shuts me down and sends me off to do something I know how to do, like washing the car or taking out the garbage. Read Go down in the flood while I sweep the patio.


Petunia McGillicuddy said...

I don't see the attraction of a sub that can sit on the ocean floor for two weeks. Do they make subs with windows?

Capt. Fogg said...

Recreational submarines, as I discovered at a boat show a couple of years ago, are a big thing. Yep, they have windows. One made locally seats 8 and is designed to tour reefs and other underwater attractions. I think that many are sold to Caribbean resorts and the like.

I don't know about two weeks either, unless there are people with Captain Nemo complexes.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog.

Crankyboy said...

Good stuff. From Chris Cooper that is. Sounds like. Everything sounds like me.

Foggy was good too. And I know first hand that your other yacht is a yacht.

Capt. Fogg said...

Thanks Bird! I dig your Blog too.

And yes, my other yacht is about one foot long and is perfect for cruising the bath tub.

d.K. said...

The very rich are different from you and me.

God, isn't this the truth?

phinky said...

The irony is, Bill Gates is opposed to repealing the inheritance tax and Paul Allen is not married and doesn't have any children.
I guess Bill Gates's kids will have to get jobs when they grow up. For some reason, Republicans see this as a bad thing.

Capt. Fogg said...

I don't pretend to understand Republicans and there seems to be a random destructiveness more than a coherent plan. Perhaps they just want to destroy everything and let a new medievalism emerge from the wreckage.