Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not so good when you are rich?

Welcome to yet another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. I am telling you, I may have to add that as a tag here. Anyhow, the latest sign of the coming economic apocalypse is upon us: The rich people are a little worried. Well, boo hoo hoo. According to the linked article from The New York Times (in the fashion section nonetheless. You know it's a major problem when such an important article gets published in the fashion section), "hairstylists and private jet rental companies say the wealthy are cutting back on luxuries like $350 highlights and $10,000-an-hour jet rentals." Holy shit!

So, it's not that there is a mortgage market exploding from predatory, less than ethical bankers. It's not that gasoline prices have gone through the roof. It's not that regular people are having a hard time buying groceries or that poor seniors have to choose between food and their medication. The real problem comes when rich people who used to fly Gulfstreams have to downgrade to Beech jets and Learjets. Damn, that is tough. So, what are some of the other symptoms of this latest sign that the economy is bad? These come from the article, by the way:

  • A rich guy is worried his wife will leave him because his income went down to 8 million bucks. Apparently, the gold digging wife is "accustomed to a certain lifestyle" (isn't that always the case?). So, it's not that he may be a loving husband. It's not that he may be good in the sack. It's the bank account. The guy is terrorized to tell his wife she needs to take it easy on the Platinum Amex.
  • "Even nutritionists and personal trainers notice a problem. The wealthy are eating more and gaining weight because of the stress."
  • "THEIR spouses could leave them when they discover that their net worth has collapsed to eight figures from nine. Friends and business associates could avoid them as they pass their lunchtime tables at Barney’s or the Four Seasons." (emphasis in the original).
  • And there is more. Think of the children, oh my God: “'They fear their kids won’t get invited to the right birthday parties,' said Michele Kleier, an Upper East Side-based real estate broker." Holy crap. Their not so poor kids might not get invited to the "right" birthday parties. Because we all know that in reality those birthday parties are networking opportunities for the kids to learn about the right connections. Remember: it boils down to who you know. No, not little Suzie, but little Elsworth Toohey VI. I guess they may have to settle for a gathering at Chuck E. Cheese's. The humanity!
  • And the rich get sneaky too when the economy gets bad: "They try to move their $165 sessions with personal trainers to a time slot that they know is already taken. They agree to tour multimillion-dollar apartments and then say the spaces don’t match their specifications. They apply for a line of credit before art auctions, supposedly to buy a painting or a sculpture, but use that borrowed money to pay other debts."
  • And some may even have to sell their diamond jewelry to make some ends meet. We are talking serious disaster here folks. They are selling their jewelry not to put food on the table, but to "to help support their children who have lost Wall Street jobs."
  • For those rich women, it's getting to the point you can't even go to the hairstylist. The horror! "On a spring afternoon, a half-dozen hairstylists to the very wealthy talked about how customers are stretching their $350 highlights and $150 haircuts to every eight weeks instead of six weeks. Some women are cutting out highlights entirely, saying they would 'rather be brunettes.'” Dear God, bleached blondes have to become brunettes. What is this world coming to? Is this going to be now the new Bravo TV reality show: "Rich People Making Do?" Or maybe a sequel: "Housewives of NYC Roadshow: How to get a good deal on the diamonds?"
Now, some of you may think I am cold or harsh. Maybe, but let's be honest. If the worst for those folks is that they may have to cut back on the hairstylist or downgrading their private jet, there are worse things. And if a woman is going to leave a guy because of the wallet, he is better off without her in the first place.

Folks, this is clearly tragic. The rich are becoming America's new disenfranchised. The American Dream is in in serious jeopardy. We need to do something, and we need to do it now. Just to reinforce how bad the problem is, here is another news story. Clearly, it is an issue as more news sources pick up on this tragic story.

In The Know: Are America's Rich Falling Behind The Super-Rich?

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