A Place for Cafe Refugees and Others Like Them

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

I found this particular piece on the rich or rather the Nouveau Riche to be rather interesting. The author did a follow up here.  The first one is a letter or email from some upper class family that makes in excess of 250 grand a year and how they don’t feel rich and should not have to pay the taxes that they do.
The second is rather a rebuttal of how off base the author thinks the letter is and I agree.

I am not going to quote it here, you can read it yourself. Yes I know, a small group of small violins are being assembled now just for him.  But be that as it may, I think that the one point one can take away from these sorts of complaints is that those making vast amounts of money – high six figure incomes I should say, though I would bet this applies to those making even more – is that a large number of these folks are just as out of control financially as anyone else. They do not know how to really live within their means.

I am not saying this to garner any sympathy.  Far from it. I know nothing about their credit cards or other loans, but I would say that they are living in a house far more than they need, purchase cars far more expensive and spend far more than is necessary on other things as well. The long and the short of it is they do not know how to manage their money so any increase in out go looks horrible to them.

I have known people in exactly this situation. The more money they get or think they are getting, the more they spend. Making some sailors seem austere by comparison. What is worse is that a good number of these people really do feel that they entitled to all they have and more.

I know not where this behavior and attitude comes from.  It did not used to be so. I knew people who were very well off but you would not guess it by their possessions or life style. A friend up in Phillie whose father owned a hardware store but also inherited a good deal of money. Another whose parents were professionals. A friend of my father who was a specialty surgeon at a hospital up in Cleveland. They were not austere, just nicely middle class.

So for these people to complain about government expenditures I would have to say: “If you spot it, you got it.” Maybe your financial problem is you and not the government.

Cross posted at TPMAHOLICS

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Comments on: "Don’t Cry For Me Argentina" (8)

  1. And Paul Krugman really nails it.

    Even in 1980, there were surely many people at or near the 99th percentile who felt sorry for themselves, at least some of the time. It happens to everyone, after all: I lead a very privileged life (yes, I’m well into the range that will pay higher taxes under the Obama plan), yet even now I find myself experiencing occasional flashes of green-eyed envy. (What? You’re driving me back to the airport in Sao Paulo, in all that traffic? Don’t I rate a helicopter?)

    But 30 years ago people with high but not super-high incomes generally felt ashamed of themselves for griping — or at least, felt that they would be ridiculed if they gave voice to their gripes. Today, all restraints are off. The fuss over Messrs. Henderson and Stein is the exception that proves the rule: they wouldn’t be providing this spectacle if they didn’t normally swim in social circles where complaining that you only have 9 or 10 times median family income is considered totally acceptable.

    Pretty soon, we’ll be having serious, completely un-self-conscious discussions in major magazines about the servant problem.

  2. I would like to see them walk a mile in my shoes.

    When FDR raised taxes on the wealthy many of them lost homes because they were over extended. Ringling and Hearsh comes to mind. Ringling made a deal with the state of Florida to take their property as a art museum and art school to cover back taxes. Hearsh’s movie star girlfriend sold her castle in England to bail him out so he would not go bankrupt.

  3. The more money you have the more you become isolated from and have nothing in common with the other 98%.

    And the more you become a lonely island.

  4. I just got done reading the comments and follow ups on that piece. I have to laugh, having a nannie and gardener is a luxury. When you work a couple of jobs to just keep a roof over your head and feed and dress your kids, you figure out how to run on a few hours of sleep and still get laundry, meals and house maintenance done. I relied on day care and relatives to watch my kids. They are living on the edge of their income and just about anything would put them into trouble not just a increase in taxes.

    I do feel sorry for them, like I do for others who have been caught up buying a home during the housing bubble. That is where so much pain is in our economy.

  5. Oh and this is going to play REAL WELL in middle class America.

    And among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it’s their money, and they have the right to keep it. “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes — but that was a long time ago.

    The spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness would be funny, except for one thing: they may well get their way. Never mind the $700 billion price tag for extending the high-end tax breaks: virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are rushing to the aid of the oppressed affluent.

    Personally I would love to see all these people selling apples on some street corner.

    • And it’s these kinds of attitudes on the part of the upper classes than can cause a riot especially during hard economic times.

      Can you say Marie Antoinette ?

    • Like if we had a civilized society.

      Half the people running this country suffer from some form of sociopathy.

      When I think of those of our politicians who get up in front of this country, virtually millions of people, and lie like hell I just want to puke. We got some really sick puppies running this place.

    • “Virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are rushing to the aid of the oppressed affluent.” Ha. And none of the Republicans, and even one Democrat, refused to rush to the aid of the unemployed earlier this summer. Isn’t that just lovely.

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