From the Sade & Co. office in Fort Defiance, Va., broker Mickey Gordon has forwarded a newsletter distributed to clients by Yancey & Anderson, a CPA firm with offices in several Virginia cities.
The October issue of the newsletter includes a discussion of the purchase of Mahattan Island by Dutch settlers who bought the parcel in 1626 from the Indians who lived there.
The purchase price has been stated as $24 worth of trinkets. That sale price may seem small, but one must keep in mind that the land had not yet been zoned "commercial."
The CPAs analyze the deal with cold logic.
The assessed value of Manhattan today (land only, not improvements) is $9.25 billion, the accountants say. Inasmuch as assessments average about 68.5 percent of full value, the land is really worth about $13.5 billion. However, the CPAs indicate that the Redskins were big winners in the deal because if they had put the purchase money into an investment that yielded a return of 6 percent a year compounded quarterly, their $24 would have grown to $34.4 billion in 354 years -- which is about 2 1/2 times the present value of the real estate.
When I first read this analysis of the deal, I felt sorry for the Dutchmen who overpaid for Manhattan.
But then I realized that as soon as the analysis was published, a letter would arrive from a spokesman for the Indians, and that the letter would run something like this:
"Those paleface Dutchmen spoke with forked tongues. They didn't warn us that their government would tax our interest as ordinary income or that the tax would be so high that it would be impossible for us to compound the wampum earned on our investment.Please ask the Great White Father in Washington if he will accept trinkets in payment of taxes."
All right, I'll ask him. And if the Great White Father asks me whether you are registered as Republicans or Democrats, what shall I say to him?
Frankly, I think you would have received more sympathetic treatment between 1968 and 1974. The Great White Father at that time was very fond of Redskins and sometimes suggested battle plans to their wily leader, Chief Lickumthumb. TIME MARCHES ON
Ruth S. Magnum of Arlington is also concerned with wampum and the earning thereof. Her comment was triggered by a recent local story headlined, "Latin Beat."
It told of a young fellow who had quit his job as a truck driver because he didn't like the work and besides it paid only $4 an hour. The story went on the say, "The jobs they are able to hold, they say are uninspiring: truck driver, dishwasher, waiter, busboy." Jobs that pay minimum wages generate minimal interest.
But Mrs. Mangum says, "Our family is middle-class, middle-income, white, native American. Our children have worked at part-time jobs during the school year and full time during the summer since the age of 14 (delivering papers before that), pumping gas, selling fish at Korvettes, being bus boys, delivering pizza, doing warehouse work and truck driving -- all hard work at minimum wages. They learned the old-fashioned work ethic the way I did. They didn't like most of the jobs, nor the pay. But they knew nobody was going to give them a handout. Recently our taxes have been rising out of proportion to our income to support those who refuse to work at minimum-wage jobs they don't like.What's going to happen when there aren't enough working taxpayers left to support the non-working class?"
Don't worry about it. The government will print up enough money to take care of all of us -- provided, of course, that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing can find somebody who is willing to run the presses. ADD SIGNS
Charles S. Rogers of Langley Park reports that the license tag on one Maryland auto is, "MY MOM." PERSONAL NOTE
Barbara Twombly: I am glad that in this selfish age, you and many readers like you continue to feel sympathy for people whose misfortunes are reported in newspapers. However even during the years in which I helped raise funds for Children's Hospital and other worthy causes, I never solicited money for any individual; only for nonprofit orgainizations. I join you in hoping that the man who was robbed so often will soon experience some good luck for a change. THESE MODERN TIMES
Herm Albright reports in the Perry Township (Ind.) Weekly:
"In today's movies, a G rating means the hero gets the girl. R means the villain gets the girl. X means everybody gets the girl."