An odd choice of verb

Salon reports that Theresa Heinz Kerry has published her tax returns, which show that her income last year was around $5m. This is a rather mind-boggling figure but what really struck me was the headline they put on the story: “Mrs. Kerry Earned More Than $5M in 2003”. “Earned”? It was inherited from her first husband and more than half of it is simply the interest on her huge pile of capital. She “earned” it only if you regard her first marriage as a form of prositution.

“The campaign reported that Heinz Kerry had an estimated gross taxable income in 2003 of approximately $2,338,000, along with tax exempt interest income of $2,777,000, largely from state, municipal and other public bonds.”

Salon thinks of itself as a left-wing magazine. I think this slip is just another example of the modern American servility towards power and wealth, where anyone who has either is presumed to have earned it somehow.

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