Envy on the Intracoastal Waterway
By Ralph R. Reiland
Published: Sunday, March 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.
It's not what I signed up for, but I got a three-hour Marxist lecture while taking a boat ride on the Intracoastal Waterway of Fort Lauderdale.
“That waterfront mansion coming up on our left is Alamo car rental money,” said our guide on the cruise. “Think of that the next time you put down your money to rent a car.”
He didn't mention that Alamo started out with four small locations, pioneering the concept of unlimited free mileage.
“The family that owns that big white home on our right with the columns had another luxury home a few blocks away on the intracoastal,” our guide continued. “They tore it down and built this one that's bigger than anything they need.”
He didn't mention that the tearing down and building created jobs in construction, trucking and manufacturing, plus the subsequent jobs that were created as those new incomes were spent and rippled through the economy to other sectors.
Our guide also didn't elaborate on which equity experts or central committee should be in charge of establishing the rules on what we “need.” I, for example, didn't “need” that boat ride.
“You'll see this next large home on the right has a tennis court on the water behind those palm trees,” the guide said. “The owner of this house bought the waterfront home next door for $10 million and tore it down to build the tennis court. That's the only $10 million tennis court in town.”
Then we hit the jackpot when it comes to the politics of envy as we approached the biggest super-yacht in Fort Lauderdale — the 282-foot Seven Seas, built by the Dutch company Oceanco.
“That's Steven Spielberg's yacht,” he said. “He bought it three years ago for $350 million. It rents for $1 million a week. He'll probably make that much from directing ‘Lincoln.' That's what you're buying with $10 movie tickets.”
Our guide had it a bit wrong. The price of Spielberg's yacht, by most accounts, was $200 million. And the rental is $1.3 million a week, making it the world's most expensive yacht charter — and that's not including the tequila, lobster, 26-person crew or gas.
And the gas isn't peanuts. With a tank capacity of 70,000 gallons, a Seven Seas fill-up at $5.50 a gallon is an eye-popping $385,000.
Still, what you get for $200 million, or a $1.3 million weekly rental, is an onboard infinity pool with a 15-foot glass wall that doubles as a movie screen, plus a spa, massage room, cinema, a technologically advanced communication system, a helipad, a sophisticated anti-seasickness system, four guest staterooms, a large master suite with a grand stateroom, study and screening room, and a private deck area with a Jacuzzi.
Missing an opportunity to jack up the class envy, our guide didn't mention that Spielberg is on the “The Forbes 400: The Richest People in America” list.
He's number 125 on the list with a net worth of $3.2 billion — not big money among the Forbes 400. Wal-Mart's five richest Waltons have a combined net worth of $115 billion. And from all those tons of Snickers and M&Ms we've consumed, three members of the Mars family have a combined net worth of $51 billion.
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur. His email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Host of Steelers veterans look toward career survival mode
- Early-morning snowstorm hampers Western Pa. commuters
- 2-vehicle crash kills Ruffsdale man
- Steelers film session: Polamalu not at fault on long run
- Monroeville police officer kills Freeport man in shootout
- UPMC doctor killed trying to help at 50-vehicle pileup
- Pirates notebook: Huntington narrows team’s offseason targets
- PSU gift failed ‘gut check’ for top open records officer
- Expert: KO doesn’t mean ‘worst’ concussion for Pens’ Orpik
- I-70 closed in Rostraver Township after truck crash
- Former NETL director pleads not guilty to obstruction charge