Over the weekend, I was flipping through the Des Moines Register while taste-testing two fine American craft beers when I saw an article that piqued my interest. It was about proposed alterations to the federal estate tax. GOP Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley argued that the tax, as it stands now, unfairly benefits those who have spent every single penny they have ever earned on booze, women and movies.
Surrounded by empty bottles of expensive vodka and thousands of dollars’ worth of Blu-Ray discs, not to mention the dozen or so women I had paid to keep me company the previous night, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was Chuck talking about me?
Over the course of my life, I have made millions, and I have blown every single dollar on three things and three things only: booze, women and movies. Had I managed my money more carefully, perhaps by now I could aspire to be among the 5,000 or so dead Americans to whom the estate tax actually applies each year. But because of a crippling addiction to throwing every last cent at alcohol, the ladies and, most of all, $20 IMAX screenings, I do not have a penny to my name, as of this writing.
People often ask me, “Do you ever tire of forking over two-fifths of your paycheck to AMC Theatres every month?” The answer is no. Because I love the movies, almost as much as I love regularly purchasing overpriced bottles of Scotch. Sure, some people might find it odd that I paid to watch “Daddy’s Home 2” 14 times over one nine-day stretch in November. But those same people wouldn’t know that the film is best experienced during a Sunday matinee, accompanied by a fleet of women I found on Craigslist and capped off with a glass of that $1,000 bottle of gin I purchased because it had sweet-looking Harley-Davidson parts inside it.
It seems obvious Chuck could not have been speaking about regular Americans when he brought up booze, women and movies in his conversation with the Des Moines Register. A regular American could avoid all three things for an entire lifetime and never be close to the $5.5 million-plus in assets it takes to owe the estate tax.
I, however, should get there, and I have had my moments of self-doubt when I wonder how it could be that one of the top earners in the continental United States can possibly, month after month, year after year, spend every dollar he earns on, again, booze, women and movies. But then I place those concerns to the side, open up Tinder and take yet another woman to yet another viewing of “A Bad Moms Christmas” for the fifth straight night, before heading home to drink the entire bottle of a $13,000 Romanee-Conti Grand Cru I purchased on a whim one night in September.
Do I ever feel guilty that the federal tax code so greatly benefits people like me ― ridiculously high-earning, irresponsible men who avoid the estate tax by spending literally millions of dollars on booze, women and movies? To be honest, until I read Chuck’s comments in the Des Moines Register, I didn’t even know it did.
On Sunday, as I watched “Zoolander 2” on my 100-inch high-definition television and laughed alongside 12 women I barely knew while chugging my seventh straight glass of Louis XIII de Remy Martin Grande Champagne Cognac, I started to think about it a bit more.
Was it fair that the absolutely wealthiest Americans should feel the burden of the tax man twice and I just once, simply because I decided to throw $90,000 into a home movie theater, complete with surround sound, 17 theater seats and an open bar that includes a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon I bought last month for a record $350,000? It’s hard to say.
But then I add up my personal contributions to American liquor sales, cinema revenues and members of the fair sex looking to make a few extra bucks. I may die surrounded by a frankly disturbing number of VHS tapes, but at least I will go out proud.