Thursday, October 4, 2012

Money and Monarchies

The first U.S. presidential debate of this election season is now behind us and, by all accounts, President Obama got spanked. The topic of the evening was domestic issues, predominately jobs and the economy. Most, however, seemed to be paying more attention to style than substance. Respondents said that Romney seemed more “presidential” than the President himself, that he projected more strength and sounded like he knew what he was talking about whereas even Democrats bemoaned that Obama seemed weak, defensive and rather unhappy to even have to be having the debate and responding to questions and accusations. Does this mean that the American people learned nothing about the dangers of choosing a national leader based on style rather than substance? Perhaps, but perhaps not. We shall have to wait and see if there is any change in the polls in favor of Romney as a result of this first debate performance. Why am I even talking about this? What did any of it have to do with monarchy? Well, Mitt Romney made one reference to a monarchy that is currently in a great deal of trouble; the Kingdom of Spain, but the fact is that many monarchies, along with many republics, are facing similar economic problems as those talked about between the two contenders to be America’s next president.

Economics are now dominating almost all national discussions and it is worth contrasting the most high-profile republic and the most high-profile monarchy in the world today; the United States and the United Kingdom. In a new book by Robert Gray called “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” it is detailed how vastly more expensive the American First Family is when compared to the British Royal Family. Last year the maintenance of President Obama and his family cost U.S. taxpayers some $1.4 billion, which is about twenty times more the $57.8 million that Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family cost British taxpayers. It should also be mentioned that the monarchy is an even greater value considering that the Queen is also the Sovereign of Canada, Jamaica, Belize, Australia, New Zealand and numerous other countries absolutely free of charge. It amazes me that republicans dare even raise the issue of cost considering that, in almost every instance, monarchies are far greater value for money than republics. Furthermore, while dishonest politicians like to use the cost of royalty as a tool of distraction, there is not a monarchy in the world that is in financial trouble because of the cost of the monarchy.

True, as mentioned in the debate last night, the Kingdom of Spain is in dire financial trouble. However, no one, absolutely no one, can even pretend to claim that the Spanish debt crisis is due to the money that goes to the Spanish monarchy. The amount spent on the Spanish Royal Family is positively Lilliputian compared to what the government spent or spends on bureaucracy, welfare, medical care, pensions, wasteful government projects (like the “green” energy boondoggle) the trade imbalance and so on. I would argue that the Spanish economy also became too dependent on money funneled into the country by the EU and when that began to dry up as more countries entered the EU and put their hand out and as the trough simply began to run out, businesses in Spain panicked. Similarly, in the United Kingdom, one need look no farther for the biggest drain (by far) on the public purse than the National Health Service which, not surprisingly, is the one area absolutely no one wants to touch. When looking at government spending in the United Kingdom, more than half (59%) is taken up by welfare, the NHS and education. The amount spent on the monarchy is so small it doesn’t even appear on most charts. Complaining about this would be like using your credit card to buy a 747 jet liner and then telling people that it was the cost of the peanuts that put you in debt.

Here’s another good comparison to make. In one year the British taxpayers spent $57.8 million on the monarchy. Also in one year, American taxpayers spent $304.5 million on economic aid alone to Kazakhstan (the least among the top 25 recipients of U.S. foreign aid). British and Commonwealth taxpayers are also spared the cost of presidential elections every four years. U.S. taxpayers also have to cover part of the multi-million cost of the Democrat and Republican Party conventions every four years which, nowadays, serve absolutely no real practical purpose at all anymore but which are, effectively, a four-day long infomercial on the candidate of that particular party. Think about that when you think of Sandra Fluke standing before a stadium full of people on live television broadcast to millions around the world complaining about women being silenced or when you think of Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair. If you’re an American taxpayer -you helped pay for that.

The bottom line is that monarchies are a bargain compared to republics. The only reason this is not well known to people is partly because of the success of royals in doing more with less. Royal displays of pomp and ceremony are generally much more rare than republican displays, but they do them so much better. People are mesmerized by the site of horse-drawn carriages, jewels, crowns and ermine robes and just assume that this all must cost a great deal of money. In fact, it doesn’t because these coaches, jewels and crowns are all very, very old and in many cases were bought and paid for centuries ago. When you see the Queen enrobed and crowned at the state opening of Parliament, you think splendor and majesty, which is true, you don’t think that there stands a woman wearing hand-me-downs but that is also true. Monarchies should be thankful that they are what they are and avoid the huge economic waste of having a president. Republics which are concerned about economic issues could do worse than start with restoring their monarchy.


  1. I am the political black sheep in my family. You are my motivation. Thank you.

  2. Your blog is a kick. I dig your theme and your color scheme. But unfortunately, reading white text on a black background for any length of time, is *really* hard on the eyes.

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  4. Good article I do disagree with you on a few points however nothing major enough to debate over
    I have also noticed monarchs are more willing to cut down on their expenses then elected politicians.

  5. Excellent article. Republicans and democrats always complain about "robber barons" and plunder of monarchies; yet, they fail to see that democracies and republics are far worse with plunder and "robber barons" (i.e. politicians) than monarchies. Oh the irony...

  6. The reason Spain, like many European countries, are in financial crisis, is because they have corrupt and irresponsible government and even more importantly, are part of the EU


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