An article featured on yesterday’s Bloomberg financial news site (“Wall Street Bonus Withdrawal Means Trading Aspen for Coupons”) wants me to feel sorry for those in the 1% of top wage earners in this country. I’m not joking. It may read like an Onion satire, but it’s not. The story focuses on the poor rich execs who aren’t getting the huge bonuses they expected from their companies this year.
Like everyone else, Wall Street companies are cutting back.
Andrew Schiff, director of marketing for Euro Pacific Capital, Inc., depends on a big bonus because he says his $350,000 a year just isn’t stretching enough to pay for the private school for the kids ($32,000 per year per child), the summer place his family rents, and the planned rehab on his Brooklyn duplex (the family is “crammed into” 1,200 square feet). Why isn’t $350,000 (which took me 10 years to earn, by the way) enough to support his lavish lifestyle? Because after taxes, health insurance and 401(k) contributions, it’s down to a mere $200,000.
I bet a family here in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district (one of the poorest areas of the city) could do just fine on that amount of money.
Alan Dlugash, who does financial planning for the Beverly Hills 90210 set, told Bloomberg: “People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress. Could you imagine what it’s like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?”
People without money don’t understand the stress?! Has he talked to anyone without money lately?
Does he think the nearly 15 million kids in America who live in poverty don’t understand stress? Or their families? Almost 1.6 million kids are homeless (the highest it’s been in a long, long time), they don’t enjoy a summer and winter home like Dlugash’s kids do. I’ll bet anything in the world that the 2,200 kids in San Francisco’s public schools who sleep in a van or on a thin mat on a shelter floor every night with their families would gladly “cram into” Dlugash’s 1,200 square foot duplex, even if they had to share a room with a sibling.
Nearly 17 million kids go hungry every day in this country. If that’s not a stressful situation, I don’t know what is. Dlugash’s children may have to eventually suffer the indignity of going to a public school (oh, the horror!) every day, but they won’t starve.
Or have to be without healthcare like the nearly 50 million Americans who don’t have any health insurance.
Wall Streeters like Schiff and Dlugash aren’t getting any sympathy here.