Kate Middleton — stage name, Duchess of Cambridge — is pregnant, which means that the austerity-ridden British taxpayers will subsidize yet another royal welfare bum for the foreseeable future. The media spectacle that has ensued since the announcement of this monarchical germination seems to have missed this ironic point in what is an otherwise mundane development — pregnancy.
In March 2012, the royal public finances were officially reported as totaling £32.1 million ($52 million), but this figure does not include security costs, and costs associated with maintenance of royal facilities. One U.K. anti-monarchy group puts the total at £202.4 million, ($326 million). It's difficult to know exactly because the Royal Family is not required to report total expenses, as it is exempt from Britain's Freedom of Information Act.
At least the British monarchy of centuries past had an excuse to siphon millions of pounds a year from public coffers: it actually ran the country, however autocratically. That excuse has now gone by the bye, as the current head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, has all the power of the American vice president, His Excellency King Joe. For all intents and purposes, these days, the Royal Family is nothing but a collection of glorified welfare bums with a history of inbreeding.
The American media, even with its storied history of anti-monarchism, has become enthralled with monarchy fever. For the next six months, it will devote thousands of hours to covering the fetal development and birth of this chap or girl who was fortunate enough to win the lottery before they were born.
Believe it or not, I can tolerate this, as it's simply yet another instance of the American press covering trivial bullshit. If I lived in the U.K., however, it would be a far different story. How tens of millions of Britons can stand by and have austerity measures imposed upon them while they are forced to simultaneously subsidize an extremely select few who, by accidents of birth enjoy a never-ending stream of massive entitlements, is a complete mystery to me.