Someone once said, “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”
I found the best horrible example I’ve seen in years: Clark and Sharon Winslow of Belvedere, California. Last spring they spent $4.2 million to buy the house next door. Why? To immediately demolish it, because it was obstructing their $19 million home’s view of San Francisco Bay.
They’re my new poster couple for the 1%!
To be fair, it’s not all that simple. The rich — in every country in every century — have been criticized for conspicuous consumption. Their answer — when they bother to care — is about the same. In Ancient Rome: “An empire requires a patrician class…” In Victorian England: “An empire requires the noblesse oblige of an aristocratic class…” In 21st C America: “A globalized economy requires a job-creator class…”
Needless to say, no one ever really substantiated these claims. I mean, after all, when you’re the substantiator, who is there to question you? On the other hand, when the wealthy take the time to debate the charge, the standard brushaway is “class warfare.” Which is rather silly on the face of it. For if this IS a war, obviously the rich have already won it!
That being said, ALL classes can surely agree on this much. Today’s bloated budget must be slashed. The bone-in-the-throat no one wants to swallow is: Who & How? Who gives up how much?
There may be a new common enemy the classes can all agree upon: The elderly. With tens of millions of seniors receiving Social Security, Medicare and pensions, anyone under 65 may believe there is no such thing as getting an entitlement. Which makes a lot of sense to them, as they may also believe there is no such thing as getting old.
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