The zero-tax payer's summer paradise

SHIP OWNER / He arrives at the holiday paradise on private plane. But on the contrary, he could tell that he lived very simply, almost spartanly.

Encouraged by Oriemtering's previous report about how the fatherland breeds millionaires, I feel the urge to depict folk life the sweet life they live, supported by this summer's impressions from the archipelago.

Because I have been hit by the recoil from childhood memories: when I was told about something called work time, something about champagne flowing from floppy hats in a place called Speilen. Since then I have heard and read that society has changed for the better, and God knows if I have not believed most of it.

The most gullible of us have read – and lamented – the terrible dilemma shipowner Finn Stephansen-Smith presented to the readers of the weekly magazine Aktuells in early summer. The poor man told the magazine that he wanted to rush to the tax foot and ask to be taxed like other decent people, because it was both a sin and a shame to appear as a zero-tax payer for the general public. At the same time, the new yacht arrived from a Finnish shipyard, which he proudly told the magazine was tailored to the owner's wishes and cost one and a half million. Then shipowner Stephansen-Smith warned the same magazine that no one should think he lived sweetly, no person who had no income could. On the contrary, he lived very simply, almost spartanly.

The new yacht was tailored to the owner's wishes.

Let me describe his spartan life this summer, since he himself has helped make personal finance a public issue – not a bad public issue ahead of the election! – through the interviews in Aktuell. Besides, it is you and I who fund him, as we fund all zero-tax payers. Hence the following report as an eyewitness:

Like all today's millionaires, new and old, he arrives at the holiday paradise on private jets and departures in the same way. Every time he has ventured into the bay, I have thought he came straight from the tax foot, after a vain conference about the possibility of being taxed. He is picked up by cabin cruiser and planes into the pollen where he lives. And this pollen is worth a song!

Prevents vulgarity

It lies at the end of a wedge, and spreads out into a deep pool as still as a pond. In the middle of the pool is the yacht worth a million and a half, and now to the pool's shore: it is lined by a dock as long as a public marina, beautifully curved in the shape of the pollen, and along the dock is a rich selection of everything the yachting industry has cast in plastic, from cruisers to dinghies. And so that none of them get scratches in the fiberglass, the dock is covered with nylon fenders – from end to end – artfully attached in a beautiful cross stitch. When I saw it for the first time, I understood why it has become a tourist attraction in Southern Norway: not even Cannes has cost the coffee kings and beef kings when they run into Europe's noblest harbor with their vessels.

In the middle of the quay is the boat house, like a stately detached house in Ullernåsen. He lives there. Too simple people live in houseboats. When such playgrounds are described, it usually says in Morgenbladet that envy has overcome the describer. For my part, I have never realized that the vulgarity of money – and the vulgar use of it – is enviable. No, I'm describing a public matter, made public by the poor zero-tax payer who has to show the rest of us his nylon dock and his yacht, while he lives as simply as he can because he can't afford anything else.

Then neither you nor I need to be financial experts to understand that there must be something seriously wrong with the social economy. And we realize that the sweet life – which has been resurrected in social democratic Norway, more viable than ever – has an interest in the election we are facing. Because as he said, the fisherman, while looking at the zero-tax payer's poll: it is not necessary to be a communist, not a SF man or an AP man, nor a leftist or a centrist, to get really pissed off!

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