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  • Robert Farago

John Travolta Vs. The World

How much money is too much?

“We need to abolish grossly excessive wealth like this.” That’s the comment accompanying an aerial photo of John Travolta’s estate in Ocala, Florida. Headline: “Two of ‘Em.”

It’s hardly an unexpected assertion. Ausgezeichnet87 posted the pic on Nor should anyone be surprised that she didn’t research Mr. Travolta’s aircraft.

The photo shows the actor’s 1988 Bombardier Challenger 601 and Quantas 138B 707. The larger airliner sticking its nose into Mr. Travolta’s private parts is long gone, donated to Australia's Historical Aircraft Restoration Society in 2017.

No worries! Unlike the Redditor, the Saturday Night Fever star has plenty of private jet options for a weekend getaway.

Mr. Travolta also owns – and pilots – a Dassault Falcon 900, Eclipse 500, three Gulfstream jets and a Boeing 727. 

God bless America or a prima facie case for income redistribution, though hopefully not in an “off with their heads” kinda way?

I’m refraining from using the term “socialism” to characterize the Redditor’s clarion call. In a true socialist society, the community as a whole owns and regulates the means of production, distribution and exchange. Of everything.

Undiluted, unabashed socialism is no longer de rigeur in The Land of the Free. It sure ustabe.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson jailed Socialist Party Leader and Presidential candidate Eugene Debs under the Espionage Act. For a speech. While Debs was running for President.

Today’s American Socialist Party has fewer than 500 dues paying members, down from 113k in 1912.

This despite the fact that government spending and regulation has grown exponentially – to the point where the Founding Fathers wouldn’t recognize their country’s economic system (colonists paid no more than 1.5 percent tax to the Exchequer).

The socialist ideal of government control of the entire economic system hasn’t disappeared completely. It’s been scaled-down, politically sanitized and repackaged.

The goal nowadays: get the rich to set everything up, regulate the F out of their enterprises and confiscate as much of their profit as humanly possible. It’s marketed under the Progressive banner, now called “income redistribution.”

Exactly how much more the rich should pay than present is an open question. The fact that the top “one percent” pay the lion’s share of federal taxes is not. Well, it shouldn’t be.

According to 2018 IRS data, the one percent pay approximately 40 percent of all federal income taxes. That’s before you calculate their contribution to state, local and payroll taxes.

This state of affairs doesn’t deter income distribution advocates, not to mention people pushing money for nothing and your internet for free (i.e., universal basic income).

After all, the words “fair share” are as subjective as you wanna be. The agitators in question are nothing if not subjective.

Fair share fans’ financial calculations involve little math and no historical perspective. Never mind. No one should be that wealthy!

Where do income redistribution advocates draw the line between acceptable, excessive and grossly excessive wealth?

Somewhere below a two-jet fly-up mansion, presumably. Never mind that the feds have thousands of jets at their disposal.

Income inequality warriors see Travoltian wealth and people who can’t put food on their table and conclude it’s a war between the wants of the rich vs. the needs of the poor. Need should trump want. Fair’s fair!

Defenders of the rich say the wealthy are already doing their part (as above). More than that, they’re the golden egg-laying geese. The drivers of the American economy.

Increasing the tax burden on the rich decreases entrepreneurship and investment, slowing the economic growth that does the “rising tide lifts all boats” thing.

Once upon a Reagan, the “capitalism benefits all” supposition used to be called “trickle down economics”. These days, the term’s acceptability rates just above the N-word; its use is restricted to those mocking fiscal conservatism.

Same as it ever was? Nope. The vituperative post on Mr. Travolta’s high-flying passion highlights a new angle of attack: climate change.

Every time Mr. Travolta takes to the skies, he’s causing more frequent and severe heatwaves, droughts, floods and other extreme weather events. Air pollution. Biodiversity loss.

Does he use paper straws? But seriously folks, wealth is being positioned as an existential threat. Is it any wonder that Jeff Bezo’s $500m Koru yacht is a sailboat?

With a petrol-powered tender and plenty of fossil-fueled toys aboard, but you get the idea. Aside from all of them, how many Hollywood stars cum environmental activists have multiple carbon-belching mansions?

Thanks to Greta Thunbergian media coverage, these carbon consuming celebs have a target on their back. Newsweek: Climate Advocates Swift, Oprah, Spielberg Called Out for Private Jet Use.

A harbinger of things to come, set to spread to attacks on less well-known, less openly hypocritical wealthy Americans?

On one hand, nah. Americans worship carbon-creating consumerism. The news media can needle the rich and famous, but there’s way too much money at stake for the press or pols to tug too hard on Superman’s cape.

On the other hand, uh-oh! Americans are being told their economic hardship is a systemic issue caused by parasitic wealth (a.k.a. “income inequality”).

Is it any wonder rioters loot with impunity? Tax the rich? Eat the rich!

Climate activists are stoking that fire (so to speak). Meanwhile, non-plussed, John Travolta is flying the friendly skies in his jet-of-the-day, high above the storm clouds of “income inequality.”

Will this climate change-charged vilification of the wealthy lead to a change in rich Americans’ tax bill or, indeed, their environmentally unfriendly way of life?

Some, but not much. Not if the wealthy have anything to say about it. As we all know, that they do.

When billionaires talk, politicians listen, no matter what comes out of the pols’ mouths on the stump. Duh. As a fixer recently told me, you can’t run for President without a billionaire in your pocket.

The one percent paying Uncle Sam’s bills know the politicians are simply paying lip service to income inequality activists. People who see planet-killing obscenity where most voters see the manifestation of the American dream.

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