If This Is A Joke ...
Then it's a pretty good one.
I'm talking about this article in the New York Times, called "You Try to Live on 500K in This Town" which just might be one of the more offensive and idiotic columns I've read in awhile. I honestly can't tell if it's satire, but I'm thinking it actually isn't.
The gist of it is a response to President Obama's edict that any CEO receiving federal bailout money can't make more than $500,000 a year in annual salary. The article argues, unpersuasively, that this is actually a huge burden.
Some choice snippets:
Private school: $32,000 a year per student.
Mortgage: $96,000 a year.
Co-op maintenance fee: $96,000 a year.
Nanny: $45,000 a year.
We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.
That's how the article starts. It then offers up such gems as these:
Many top executives have cars and drivers. A chauffeur’s pay is between $75,000 and $125,000 a year, the higher end for former police officers who can double as bodyguards, said a limousine driver who spoke anonymously because he does not want to alienate his society customers.
A personal trainer at $80 an hour three times a week comes to about $12,000 a year.
The work in the gym pays off when one must don a formal gown for a charity gala. “Going to those parties,” said David Patrick Columbia, who is the editor of the New York Social Diary (newyorksocialdiary.com), "a woman can spend $10,000 or $15,000 on a dress. If she goes to three or four of those a year, she’s not going to wear the same dress."
Total cost for three gowns: about $35,000.
Right - because in the midst of a huge economic free-fall, it's perfectly reasonable to expect the wives of these executives to spend about $12,000 on A SINGLE DRESS THEY'LL NEVER WEAR AGAIN.
I could go on, but the stupid won't let me.
This article presumes that these leaders of industry haven't saved a nickel of their vast millions. It presumes that at no time could these guys (they're all guys) fall on their swords and say, "You know what? It's been a tough year and we're in a lot of trouble - forget the chauffeur, forget the trip to the Swiss Alps this year, let's buckle down."
The rules don't apply to these captains of industry, apparently, even though we're in an economic recession, bordering on much, much more.
I'm all for people making truckloads of cash - but if you stick your hand out and demand a helping hand from the government, you shouldn't expect your lifestyle to not skip a beat. What's more, they are asking for a handout because, at least to some degree, they screwed up on the job. The assumption that in some way they are blameless is not just limited to this article, it's reflected in the junkets that AIG, BofA and others continue to take after getting these cash infusions, it's reflected in John Thain's office redesign, and it's pervasive in the New York culture.
(Here, courtesy of the Daily Beast, is a list of John Thain's top 16 outrages:
1) $2,700 for six wall sconces.
2) $5,000 for a mirror in his private dining room.
3) $11,000 for fabric for a "Roman Shade.”
4) $13,000 for a chandelier in the private dining room.
5) $15,000 for a sofa.
6) $16,000 for a "custom coffee table.”
7) $18,000 for a “George IV Desk.”
8) $25,000 for a "mahogany pedestal table.”
9) $28,000 for four pairs of curtains.
10) $35,000 for something called a "commode on legs.”
11) $37,000 for six chairs in his private dining room.
12) $68,000 for a "19th Century Credenza" in his office.
13) $87,000 for a pair of guest chairs.
14) $87,000 for an area rug in Thain's conference room and another area rug for $44,000.
15) $230,000 to his driver for one year’s work.
16) $800,000 to hire celebrity designer Michael Smith, who is currently redesigning the White House for the Obama family for just $100,000.
Did you get that? He paid eight times as much for his OFFICE to be redecorated than the Obama administration is paying for the White House. Talk about egregious. There's nothing on this list that doesn't make me angry and a bit nauseous.)
This is all so arrogant, and so very stupid.
Just like this article.