Friday, August 21, 2009

The Rich are Poor!

Not really, but the NYT claims that a lot of rich people have lost a lot of moolah because of the crisis. It is also true that they had become obscenely, disproportionately rich, so we're not shedding tears over their losses. The numbers are sobering. The Republican policies of this country were turning the USA into a bastion of inequality worthy of the Third World. The more the rich gained, the more the poor and the middle class lost. Unbridled capitalism in action. Not a pretty sight.
So now everybody's hurt. A bit of a readjustment, a bit of a shakedown, until the rich gain ground again, as they are wont to do.
As I luxuriated in the excruciating serenity of my Tai Chi class today (as my teacher says: I'm killing your thighs!), obscuring the placid morning view of the Hudson River was a big yacht with a helicopter parked on it, several jet skis and two flat screen TVs playing even though no one was watching (this gives me heartburn). Oh. And a servant swabbing.
Everybody gaped at this gigantic toy loaded with other big toys. Males more than females, but females ogled too (wondering, I wonder, whether this humongous phallic objet belonged to a bachelor?).
Besides blocking the view, it seemed totally anachronistic, stupid and ridiculous, but there it was, asserting its superiority over the little people like a big bully.
So if the rich are getting less rich, even if this means less donations to charitable causes, less of that petty trickle down, I do feel a refreshing shower of schadenfreude. I am happy that obnoxious fashions with astronomical price tags may sit there collecting dust for a little while longer. I am happy that maybe people, even rich ones, may find a $45 entreé offensive. Or a $25 million dollar home a bit de trop. Hopefully these are humbler times.
Just so you know, I am not a communist. I believe that people who work hard and are smart and ethical with their business should reap the fruits of their labor. I love money. I want to adopt it.
But the rich in this country are coddled by the government, while the rest are not.
We need a social democracy. We need a fairer distribution of wealth. We need better education, health care, investment in the arts and sciences. This should come from our taxes, so we can all have a good standard of living. Why is this scenario so horrifying in America? We need to move on and embrace the 21st century (as we embrace Century 21, the store). We are not the fucking pilgrims any more.
I don't understand people who marvel at the inability of the rich to call it quits when it comes to amassing money. They say: "Why do they need $200 million? Why can't they be happy with $100 million, or $50 or $1o million?" It doesn't work that way. Money begets money. (Have you noticed that the rich only marry the rich?) And they should make lots of money, but they should also give lots of it away. Through taxes, through tax deductible charitable contributions, through the goodness of their hearts, for all I care.
I am hoping the age of vulgar, ostentatious consumption will subside for a while. What kills me is the vulgarity.

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