There was this movie with Peter Sellers in which he played a character who was, shall we say, “mentally challenged” (with all this political correctness floating around, we don’t know the appropriate phrase) but who everybody thought was a great genius. At a press conference he was asked what he thought of China. He paused, bowed his head and slowly said, “China is full of Chinese.” The reporters nodded their heads in awe and murmured, “Full of Chinese. Hmm…”, remarking to each other how brilliant he was.

Money also does this to people. If you have a lot of money, people will never say you’re crazy. Only poor people are crazy. You would be “eccentric.” Which brings us to George Soros, who apparently believes his money makes him a player on the world’s stage, someone to whom other people should listen and accord respect. Worse yet, these “other” people are beguiled into actually believing this nonsense. The thinking goes something like this: “All my life I have directed all my energies into making as much money as possible. Now, this man makes more in one day than I make in twenty years. Therefore, he must be a genius.”

But when a baseball player hit 500 career home runs, would that make him anything other than a home run hitter? If a tap dancer knocks your socks off and sounds like a combination of Fred Astaire and Bojangles, would you say he is anything more than a great tap dancer? Would you go to him to have your tonsils taken out or for advice as to which mutual fund to buy?

George Soros came under our microscope some time back when he and some other billionaires took out advertisements in the newspapers opposing the abolition, or even the lowering of, the Federal Estate Tax. We, on the other hand, believed that President Reagan was on the right track when he expressed the thought that the estate tax was the unfairest of the panoply of taxes that we pay.

When you make the money, you are taxed up to fifty percent. Then if the government is lucky enough to have you die, they tax your estate, which is whatever you have left after a lifetime of paying income tax, once again up to fifty percent. If a small businessman or farmer worked hard his entire life, paid his taxes in the hope of passing something to his children, perhaps even to keep the business or farm running when he is gone, at his death the government will swoop down to grab a substantial portion.

Millionaires have legions of lawyers and armies of accountants who devise ways to avoid these taxes, unlike the rest of us ordinary people. Mr. Soros and his colleagues who urge that estate taxes be maintained should first reveal what they have done to minimize their estate taxes. Our guess is that they have spent more on tax lawyers and accountants than most of the rest of us could possibly leave as our entire estate.

Soros reminds us of the guy who passes the board and gets into a private club or cooperative apartment house, and then tries to make it difficult for the next guy. One thing we do know for sure – in the advertisement that Soros and friends ran in the press, basically urging that everyone should be liable for paying taxes, mention was made of an organization that was formed by them to support their aims. The office of this organization was in Boston or Philadelphia (coming from New York, the geographic lines are blurred). We called and told them, to their eager delight, that we wanted to make a contribution. But we wanted to make sure it was tax deductible. We were assured it was. We were reminded of the old Southern preacher who said, “Don’t do like I do. Do like I say do.”

There is also the moral problem that we have with the way enormously rich people make their money. Other than wealth created by virtue of an invention, such as Edison and electricity, the acquisition of wealth is not a guiltless process, nor certainly is it a profitless and harmless transfer of monies. Notwithstanding Soros’s professed interest in helping people via his charities, there is the fact that speculation in foreign currencies – a la Soros – can beget economic havoc in countries. In 1992, Soros earned one billion dollars in a one day by betting that the British pound would fall. Although Soros denies it, there are some who accuse him of causing the 1997 Asian economic crisis by his betting against the Thai baht. When these sorts of things occur it ultimately filters down to the humblest of a country’s citizens. It is said that when a butterfly flutters its wings on a plain in Africa, it begets a hurricane in Louisiana. Soros is no butterfly!

If these were our only thoughts about Soros we would happily consign him to our private hell peopled by hypocrites, windbags, and assorted parasites and blowhards. No, we believe he is a more destructive person since his money gives him a podium to spout his nonsense.

Soros openly says that he is not supportive of Israel. Another gem from Soros: “There are some people in the Bush administration who have the same mentality as Arafat or Sharon.”


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Jackie Mason is the world-renowned comedic genius. Raoul Felder is a prominent Manhattan attorney.
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