The Executive Lifestyle

With the holiday season approaching, you may find yourself asking, “What gift should I give when I have more than a million dollars to spend?” Search no further because the Robb Report’s 2016 Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide has the answer! And don’t “freak out” because it says “7 million dollar gifts,” because the guide provides seven choices of $1 million dollar gifts, not $7 million gifts, which would be too impractical and extravagant for this blog. The seven gifts are:

  • Yacht
  • Duplex penthouse
  • Supersonic private jet
  • Eric Clapton’s guitar
  • Persian rug
  • Car of the year event (for you and 23 of your closest friends)
  • San Diego music event (for you and 10 of your closest friends)

However, Robb Report provides a view into the “executive lifestyle,” which is organized accordingly:

  • Autos
  • Aviation
  • Boating
  • Travel
  • Watches
  • Real estate
  • Spirits
  • Style
  • Etc.

Perhaps most seductive of all is the lure of private jets. A piece on Hollywood mogul Merv Adelson who produced the Waltons, Dallas, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, and Eight Is Enough, began, “If you asked me back in the day, ‘What do you miss the most?,’ my answer would have been ‘I miss my jet,’”

But Merv, for all his faults, took on a lot of risk to create the wealth that resulted in his ability to fly privately. In fact, the items discussed in Robb Report all take a considerable amount of wealth to acquire, and their desirability has not gone unnoticed by those in government, who don’t take on quite as much risk. While nobody begrudges the President’s plane, too much, Nancy Pelosi’s “Speaker Shuttle” did raise some eyebrows a few yeas ago, as noted by then-CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkinsson because’s Pelosi’s use was considered by some to be excessive. The problem is that the use of Pelosi’s Speaker Shuttle or any of these luxuries has a cost, and in this case that cost is paid by the American taxpayer. People in America are doing without so Pelosi can jet about the country like a Hollywood mogul.

And those costs, in the case of Pelosi, are not entered into freely through a commercial transaction, but are compelled by the state through taxation. Similar considerations came to mind while your correspondent was visiting the Newport Mansions. They are undeniably lovely and attractive, but they were paid for by factory workers who did with less so the grandees could compete among themselves by living in ever greater splendor. At some point, it appears, there has to be a limit to how much people—especially the American taxpayer—can be squeezed.

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