Britain’s Queen Elizabeth recently died, and now her 73-year-old son has taken over as the patriarch of the Windsor royalty. I have to be candid here, and tell you that I simply don’t understand the 21st century significance of inherited royalty. I know Britain is full of Dukes, Duchesses, Earls, and such and for some reason they embrace this type of thing. It is said that the U.K. England spends about $200 million/year on pay and services for their queen.
But I guess, we in the U.S. also have a form of royalty in that we allow massive wealth to pass from one generation to another. For most of my life the inheritance tax rates were about 70% after exemptions. Now they are about 18%. At one time the estate tax accounted for almost 20% of tax revenue. Now it is down to about 1%. Since almost all of our federal government congressmen and senators are multi-millionaires, that drastic decrease is not totally surprising.
Another instance of royalty is our ex-presidents. They get many perks and a lifetime $220,000/year in cash. The government also provides them funds for setting up office space and staffing. They get $1 million/year for a chief executive and two staff members. Then there is $500,000/year for travel expenses. Finally, they get lifetime protection from Secret Service agents. I assume all these lifetime perks are tax-free to them but can’t say that for sure. That adds up to big bucks.
To me, the only place kings and queens are needed in the 21st century is in a deck of cards.
7 thoughts on “The Queen Is Dead, Long Live The King…”
You’re forgetting that the Queens of 13 other nations also died recently. The Queen of New Zealand being one of those. I suppose at some time in the future we may replace the monarch with an alternative head of state, but there seems little demand for it at present. In 1840 the Māori signed the Treaty Of Waitangi with the British Crown represented by the monarch, and many Māori regard the crown as a guarantor of their constitutional rights under the treaty. Historically the NZ government of New Zealand failed to honour much of the treaty until the 1970s. Although the there are now processes in place to redress the harm that has been caused, their concern is that there would be no constitutional obligation for a replacement for the monarch to honour the treaty. Until this is resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned, then the status quo is likely to remain.
It costs the NZ taxpayer around 9 million NZ dollars per year to run the office of Governor General who is effectively the head of state when the monarch is not in the country (which is about 99.99999% of the time). The GG receives a salary as determined by the Remuneration Authority which determines the salaries of all senior civil servant and government salaries, which, with expenses currently stands at around NZ$500,000 before tax. Most of the remaining costs go on maintaining the lands and buildings that comprise Government House. The GG holds office for a fixed term of five years and receives no remuneration after their term ends.
Interesting about inheritance tax. As I understand it, it is the British crown, not the royal family or the monarch that owns most of the wealth, although the Windsors are quite wealthy in their own right. I know that a lot of the estates that were formerly were owned by the “landed gentry” are now in the hands of rich business tycoons because the inheritance taxes all but bankrupt the families.
In Aotearoa New Zealand we have never had an inheritance tax nor a capital gains tax, and gift tax/duties were phased out decades ago, which I think makes us somewhat unique.
Barry, sorry I did not respond to your valuable thought when you posted it. I was on my New England vacation at the time and just forget.
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Worth also noting that not all Brits ’embrace this type of thing’, despite (or perhaps partly because of) the wall-to-wall scheduling over here. Enforced sycophancy is not the same as genuine loyalty however and like you, I don’t see inherited royalty as relevant, particularly amongst my children’s generation – so I guess it will become less and less tenable. But that view that isn’t one that you feel you can share sometimes – despite our Western love of ‘free speech’!
I agree with much of what you say Frances. We all need our heroes in life, but just because we love the father doesn’t mean we love the son. When Hillary ran for president it felt too much like an aristocracy. I voted for her but too many didn’t and that is why an idiot got into the Oval Office.
I didn’t love the mother – I had a certain amount of respect as she’d been in the same ‘job’ for 70 years (albeit with the massive privilege that ‘job’ entailed.) Plus I think she did represent some good values. But I felt sympathy more for a family that had lost their mother, grandmother etc. No matter how old she was, it’s still a loss. But that sympathy wore out all the faster, the more I felt we were expected, nay required to mourn for a personal loss I simply do not feel. And I reject wholeheartedly any sense of hereditary legitimacy. But there it is …
RJ, I did not know where to send this, so I’m putting it here, sorry.
I see your truck in the parking lot of the Red Roof Inn here in NY, where I’m staying, too for the night with my wife on our way to Ohio.
Could I briefly meet you in the morning, if you see this in time? We’ll be having breakfast in the motel lobby? If there is time, I’d also like to interview you for TV briefly.
Jeffery, it was good to meet you this morning. I’m sorry I didn’t get around to my comments work until now. On my on-the-road trips, I barely touch my computer except for every couple of days. It you want to try an email or iMessage for the interview, I am up to that. I have done a few of them in the past and they turned out well. Have a safe my new friend. Looking forward to some comments on future posts.