Monday, July 6, 2009
A week ago today, on June 30, 2009, the facts in this post appeared on page 4A of the St. Petersburg Times; I waited until after our own celebration of the anniversary of America's independence to bring them to your attention. I thought that was quite magnanimous, splendid, and downright sporting of me. Here are the facts:
The office of Queen Elizabeth II has released a report on how much public money the royal family spends. Some highlights:
$68.6M -- total public funds spent in the 12 months ending March 31. Security is not included in this total.
$2.48M -- increase from previous year
$10.76M -- spent on travel
$661,302 -- spent to relaunch the royal Web site
$496,000 -- spent cleaning royal homes
$827,209 -- spent on food
661,302 -- spent on garden parties
$1.14 -- cost to the average British taxpayer, up 5 cents
[end of article]
I want to make a few comments.
First of all, the amounts were shown in U.S. dollars for the benefit of the U.S. reading public, which would be completely in the dark about crowns and pounds and guineas (thank you, A. E. Housman) and quid and shillings and sixpence and such.
Second, it is unclear exactly to whom the phrase “the royal family” refers. Liz and Phil only? All the next generation as well? And the next? Camilla Parker-Bowles? What about third cousins, twice removed, who even as we speak are probably affectionately known as the Duke and Duchess of Kent? I’m not sure.
Third, why all the fuss? The last number shown indicates that the total cost to the average British taxpayer to support the British royal family is the huge sum of one dollar and fourteen cents, up five cents from the previous year. It must have been a slow news day on the Thames.
Finally, if all the numbers are accurate and if I have understood the article correctly, I can divide the total public funds spent in the 12 months ending March 31 ($68.6M) by the cost to the average British taxpayer ($1.14) and determine that there are 60,175,438 British taxpayers. I can further learn, by reading the Wikipedia article on the United Kingdom, that the estimated population of the United Kingdom in 2007 (the year for which the most recent figures are available and also the year in which the photograph above of Her Majesty was made) was 60,975,000 persons.
So, dear reader, there are apparently only 800,000 Brits who do not pay taxes in the United Kingdom. In my opinion, this is the most shocking and outrageous statistic of all. One can only assume that these ne'er-do-wells are still in utero and that the British Parliament will correct this oversight posthaste.
No Britons were harmed in the making of this post.