This was sent to me by JonBerg. It’s out of The Wall Street Journal and anything that I could possibly say would be anticlimactic.
Megaship ahoy! To escape higher taxes, the wealthy could relocate... to open waters.
By SCOTT ADAMS
According to biologists, billions of years ago the first sea creature wiggled onto the beach. This was a pivotal moment in life’s long march from amorphous sea snot into the highest form of mammalian beings -- hedge-fund managers. Many people see that as an improvement, but I’m not judgmental. What we don’t know is why the first sea creatures were so anxious to leave their ocean habitats. My guess is that it had something to do with taxes.
Reliable people on television have informed me that taxes are the root cause of all behavior. And that means we can predict the future by looking at tax policy. In fact, I hear tax-related predictions every time I accidentally stop thinking about myself long enough to notice that others are talking. What I haven’t yet seen is anyone correctly predicting the future based on tax policy. Apparently that burden has fallen to me.
Somewhere in Washington our leaders are furiously planning an economic death spiral. It will start innocently with a modest tax increase on the rich, the same way you might pluck a chicken to give it fair warning before you barbecue it. The final phase will involve a tax rate on the top 1% of earners that is so high it can’t be described without the Viking word for pillage. I base my prediction on the fact that the country is out of money, poor people don’t have any, rich people do, and the middle class has almost figured out how voting works.
In the old days, every member of the middle class thought he or she had a chance of becoming rich. In that sort of optimistic environment, you don’t want to urinate in the pool that you hope to someday swim in. But lately there’s more fatalism in the air, thanks to our crushing debt and the hobo militias that I assume are forming all over the country. The middle class will soon trade their unrealistic dreams of wealth for the opportunity to transfer money from total strangers to themselves -- a process often referred to as fairness. That’s when the rich will get serious about an escape plan, just like the brave little sea creatures billions of years ago.
But where can the rich go? Their choices include nations that have swarms of malaria-infested mosquitoes, bad TV, deadly climates, decapitation issues, French people, bland food and other signs of inhospitableness. When you consider these factors plus wars, pollution, terrorism, floods, droughts, earthquakes and tornadoes, I think you’ll agree that most of the surveyed land on Earth is unfit for fancy people.
This is where technology trends come in. We’ve already entered the era of megaships, including plans for island-size vessels with permanent homes and businesses. We’ll soon see rapid advances in high-speed Internet for seafaring vessels, floating fisheries, hydroponic gardens, energy generated from waves, and desalination. The only other element needed to trigger mass migration of the wealthy to the oceans is a financial motive. If a billionaire can escape taxation by leaving his dirt-based country behind, he’ll save more than enough money to pay for his floating fortress of awesomeness.
Out at sea, you can declare your own sovereign state or form alliances with other island-vessels. Taxes would be a thing of the past. Any government-like decisions can be handled through a Facebook page. The only downside would be listening to Ron Paul nagging you to use Twitter instead to keep government small.
Pirates would be a cause of concern, obviously. But if a billionaire has enough money to buy an island-size vessel, he probably has enough to outfit it with a drone air force, radar, sonar, laser guns, torpedoes, ship-to-ship missiles, and other technology so cool that just thinking about it raises my testosterone count.
If some country with a military tells you to move from its favorite part of the ocean, you can turn off your stabilizers and let the current do the rest. Your island home would be like a Gandhi that floats. (That’s not redundant, because I’m almost positive that Gandhi would go straight to the bottom of the pool if he tried to tread water.)
And no nation is going to try to conquer an island vessel for its treasure, because most of the residents’ riches will be invested in financial instruments, not stuffed in mattresses on the ship. For a fully equipped military, the cost of attacking an island vessel would exceed the value of the designer handbags and gold toilets it could seize.
The ocean is the safest place on Earth if you play it right. Super hurricanes caused by climate change (allegedly!) are no problem for ships that can relocate at any time. And droughts can’t hurt you if you get the desalinization technology right. There’s almost no problem so big that it can’t be avoided by a billionaire in the middle of an ocean.
You might doubt my vision of the future, but let me ask you two questions: 1) How big is Larry Ellison’s yacht? 2) Does his Japanese-style house have paper walls for realism or to make it lighter because he plans to someday lift it with helicopters and move it to his boat?
Shades of the 1995 Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic science fiction film, Waterworld?