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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Opinions > My Turn

Luxury Tax

Jan 10, 2019

By Steve White - columnist

When you hear the term ‘Luxury Tax' most of us sports junkies know it applies to the world of Baseball. Teams whose payroll exceeds a certain amount are penalized. This was created to prevent the wealthy teams from dominating. Now I could care less what teams spend or if this tax has had the intended effect. I do think the idea of applying a luxury tax to what I consider absurd behavior is an interesting concept. So, I am going to use Baseball's invention of a ‘Luxury Tax' as an ‘Embarrassment Tax.
' I will be the sole judge and jury as to whether an act qualifies and what the dollar amount of the tax should be. In addition, a monthly list of offenders, including the act and fine, will be published on the internet so everyone knows. Kinda like a scarlet letter. All fines will be returned to the governing jurisdiction of the guilty person(s) legal address. This, in an attempt to benefit everyone who has to live near these excessive egos. If everyone in your neighborhood has massive egos, then all will qualify for TV special. Kinda like the ‘Rich and Ridiculous.'
Just recently I read where Kanye and Kim spent over a million dollars covering their California property in fake snow for a Christmas party. Really? This is what prompted me to develop a tax. They are at the top of what would be an example of an ‘Embarrassment and/or Luxury Tax.' Obvious! How about some that might not be so easily identifiable.
I am a ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives' type of guy. That's me. I don't begrudge anyone whose taste is different but how much is too much to pay for a meal? Is there such a thing as ‘trying to impress' eating? The thing is, I think many are influenced by the price and/or reputation of the chef when making an evaluation. The more expensive, the more well-known, the better the meal? I don't get it. It is very rare that the food lives up to the price and/ or reputation. So I am going to apply an ‘Embarrassment or Luxury Tax' to anyone who pays more than $125 per person (generous) for a meal. I know these ridiculous prices are not worth it but if you want to pretend that they are you must pay!
Believe it or not, I am an Opera and Dance, (ballet and modern) fan. Years ago I would stand on line to purchase discount tickets for performances at Lincoln Center, especially Dance. To this day, Judith Jamison remains the greatest dancer I've ever seen. When I lived in Mexico, I made it a point to attend a performance of Mexico's National Orchestra at a historical venue in Guadalajara. You get the idea. Anyway, it is at mediums like this (never happens at a rock concert) that the ‘Embarrassment Tax' would flourish. Right after a $400 per person meal, there are those that have front row seats to Lincoln Center. There is a special entrance for people like this. The height of the door is adjusted so their noses can fit thru.
Listen, I am making fun but there is a phenomena that is interesting to observe. Not all performances are awe inspiring. Some are downright average and a few disappointing. That said, I have NEVER been to a performance where the elite seats don't rise to give a Bravo shout out. Deserving or not. The soloist has been off key, vocalist flat, or the ballerina broke her ankle, it doesn't matter. Here they are in a chorus of Bravos.
It's kinda funny to witness. Actually, if it is a poor performance I look forward to the Bravo part. In any event, this phony behavior is an embarrassment and qualifies for the tax.
Let's be real. The Arts wouldn't exist without the Elite. I am grateful to those who contribute big dollars so the rest of us can enjoy them. But the Kardashian example above is absurd and should be made fun of. How much can you take from the world? How selfish can you be? I know the answer

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