I don’t usually come to the support of millionaires who get attacked for buying yet another unnecessary toy, but after reading a series of articles from the Boston Globe recently, I felt the need to speak up a bit. I first read that U.S. Senator John Kerry (Massachusetts – D) had bought a new yacht in Rhode Island, rather than his home state of Massachusetts, to avoid paying some $500,000 in taxes. This wasn’t tax evasion, but rather smart purchasing.
Tonight, this article from the Globe showed that after pressure, Kerry voluntarily decided to pay the $500,000 to the state of Massachusetts. Kerry is obviously rich, which makes him an easy target. Regular people aren’t going to take to kindly to a “loss” (more like missing out) of $500,000 which could potentially go back into the state, nor will they be sympathetic. But let’s imagine for a minute that it wasn’t Kerry, and it wasn’t a yacht. Maybe it was a weekend shopper who rather than paying the hiked up taxes in Massachusetts (also known as Taxachusetts) went up to the outlets just across the border in New Hampshire. There are more than one example of this kind of tax-dodging.
This isn’t being unfaithful to one’s home, it’s just being a smart shopper. Why should he pay an extra $500,000 when he is well within the law to avoid doing so? $500,000 might not mean the same to me as to him, but I don’t think it matters when you talk about that many zeros, either way. Now, it’s possible that I’m missing some big piece of the story, because after all I live in South America and only got this news from the source of the Globe. And the article does say that he’ll mainly be docking the vessel in Massachusetts territory. Yet there are so many things going on at the current time: oil spill, muddled up war, worldwide crisis, etc. Does it matter what one man paid on his new dinghy?