Tuesday, April 2, 2013

W.A.T.T.?


W.A.T.T. (what are they thinking) ?
Johann Wagener 4-1-13

April Fool’s Day seemed appropriate to write about this because it’s so absurd that one might think I’m kidding.

Fortune magazine refers to her as “one of the world’s richest and most powerful women”.

Her and her husband live in a home valued at worth well over $5 billion: The 775-room London residence has 52 royal and guest bedrooms and 188 staff bedrooms. 

It baffles me as to why anyone would want to live in a 775 room home. I imagine it would be easy to get lost or not know where you left your glasses. it would take almost 2 years to actually spend one day in each of these rooms. 

Though this is their main residence they do spend some time at their 2nd home that they frequent on weekends, another tremendous property that is said to be the largest occupied castle in the world. 

Other government provided perks include the Royal Art collection, the Crown Jewels, $11 billion worth of UK property held through the Crown Estate, even unmarked swans on stretches of the Thames, to which the Crown has claimed ownership since the 12thcentury when swan meat was considered a delicacy; they are no longer eaten.

In addition to these freebies she has personal property which includes her private residence in the Scottish Highlands. The Estate, which covers just over 50,000 acres, is open to the public for several months during the year. (Right now there is a special exhibition of ball gowns with a diamond theme.) 

She also has stud farms, a fruit farm and marine land throughout the U.K., personal art and fine jewelry. 

She also has one of the world’s largest stamp collections, the Royal Philatelic Collection, started by her ancestors in the early 19th century. 

She receives £38.2 million a year from the Government. This includes the Civil List  -  a £7.9million annual grant from the Treasury to cover her personal spending and staff salaries  - and four grants - in- aid totaling £19.7million from other departments for areas including travel and building repairs.

Last year she also got £3.9million in miscellaneous costs met by the Government and Crown Estate. The biggest grant is £15.4million for property maintenance from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which also pays her £400,000 communications bill.

Plus she receives an annual stipend of more than $12 million, though that figure has been reined in over the years. All told, Forbes estimates her net worth around half a billion, quite a nice sum but not enough to personally earn a spot on our billionaire ranks.

Inspite of all this personal wealth and puplic welfare she requested public assistance to help pay her electric bill. Her aides pleaded for the cash as they claimed gas and electricity bills had risen by more than 50 per cent in a year - totaling more than £1million. They complained that the £15million government grant to cover home expenses was inadequate and her energy bills had become 'untenable'. 

The money would have come from £60million of energy-saving grants reserved for cash-strapped families, housing associations and hospitals.

Her son is 65 years old and has been unemployed all of his life. He collects a bizarre form unemployment totaling nearly $29 million last year and $28 million the previous year. After paying an estimated 40% in taxes, he spends, according to his official site, well over half of after-tax income on official duties and charitable activities. That still leaves plenty of spending money.  

The family’s primary skill set are parades, photo ops, and vacations. Other than that there’s not much else to credit them with in terms of social productivity.

And, believe it or not, the taxpayers foot the whole bill and have done it for centuries. Call it  social “welfare” or just plain absurd.

 I assume all the pomp and ceremony and being dazzled by celebrities justifies what seems to me to be a complete waste of a nations resources; especially when many of it’s citizens live hand to mouth, pay check to pay check.

Maybe it's meant to be a distraction from those realities? Or maybe people are just being conned. 

Something to think about.