Mr. Darcy & American Aristocracy

So apparently Romney pays around 13% a year in taxes on an income of over 20 million dollars.  Paul Ryan paid 20% on $323,000 in 2011.  And many of the most wealthy people in the United States, billionaires even, are paying less than 10% (CNN).

This is because wealthy individuals gain most of their income through return on investments, quite often in the form of capital gains which is taxed at a lower rate.  This is because not all real income is real income.  Some of it cannot be spent on whatever the new owner of fake income wants to buy.  And much of it cannot be deposited in a savings account because it can spontaneously combust.

Lately I have had a strong sense that I live in an immoral society—tt assails me like a stiff wind—not because everything about America is awful, indeed I love my country, but because we are thoroughly corrupt in at least this respect: as a society we have decided to favor, and to create, an upper-class.

Until quite recently, the English aristocracy was alive and well, and dominated English society.  I love Victorian movies and books (I’m still a hardass though!) and recently my curiosity was piqued by the constant discussion of income, “Mr. Darcy has 20,000 pounds a year!”  Do they mean wages, capital gains, or what?

I looked into it, and it turns out that to be an English aristocrat you usually had to make over $3 mil. a year (adjusted for inflation).  They did not acquire this income through business ventures, mercantilism, wages, or through any great talent on their part really.  It came from speculation, investments (most often chosen by others), and rents from large estates and tracts of land — it came from pre-owned wealth.   The Duke of Marlborough, one of the richest aristocrats of the time, pulled in $52.5 mil annually.  To put that in perspective, Warren Buffet pulled in $62 mil. last year, also from pre-owned wealth (admittedly cleverly invested wealth, likely more cleverly I imagine than the Duke of Marlborough).

But Victorians considered the Duke’s income as real income while we pretend it is not, at least not as real as income made from wages.  Indeed, wages, the money received based on time, skill, expertise, and effort, should be taxed heavily.  That stuff simply should not be incentivized.  Don’t these people know they should already have wealth to invest?  Rather, aristocrats sitting on pots of gold and passing it down to their children…that is the stuff civilizational dreams are made of.

So if you love this American economy
Than vote for Mitt Romney
And I won’t forget the men who died
So I could make money,
And I’ll gladly stand up
For freedom
To speculate at low tax rates
Cause their ain’t no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA

(Based on the chorus of Proud to be An American)

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About Jer Clifton

Look up, friend. The world is too beautiful for my eyes alone. View all posts by Jer Clifton

5 responses to “Mr. Darcy & American Aristocracy

  • Linda Clifton-McCormick

    keep writing blogs to help me sort out this political pot pourri and blogs with songs are the best!!!

  • Alexander Lipnicki

    I think these tax loopholes the rich get through are ridiculous. How can you complain about taxes when you make $20 million a year OR get taxed at 13%? Mitt Romney is an ass, not because he is rich, but because he is not thankful that he is rich. I do know that Romney donated 20% to the Mormons but does that really make up for it? Not to be an ass but we with our meager income were taxed at 25% and managed 22% charitable donations. Being rich sure is tough!

  • Anonymous

    Yes I wonder at it myself. I know a woman working at least 60 hrs a week supporting a family of 4 who cannot save enough to buy a home in a decenct area in London UK but she is taxed at 50% of her wages because the government classifies her as rich earning over £100k per annum. The only way to a fair tax system is that everyone using the system pays a flat rate depending on that use not income based. A larger income in no way emplies one receives more, infact they probably use less state based services like health and education so why are they paying more for them?
    However if one were to scrutinize how the assets of the truly wealthy were got there would be little wonder why these same people appear to have no scruples when it comes to doing things honestly!

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