Now that my beloved Barack Obama is in the White House, I haven't had to get on my soap-box for awhile now. But I'm feeling "tangent-y" this morning, so look out.
In the past few days, I've heard news out of the small Oregon resort town where Eric and I lived: the couple who owned the evil-corporate empire that almost ruined us? Just filed for bankruptcy. This couple discovered, many years ago, a beautiful little village on the Pacific Ocean and couldn't help but notice that it was one of the few remaining coastal towns that hadn't been paved over with shopping malls and gigantic vacation houses. So they set about doing so in order to make themselves rich. I know from working very closely with this couple that their plan was to make as much money as they could and then they would buy a huge amount of land in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Oregon on which they could spend their remaining years....far away from concrete and shopping malls. They proceeded to build ridiculous spec-homes (meaning that they "speculated" that people with money to spare would come along and pay millions of dollars) are in deep trouble now that the bottom has dropped out of the real-estate market. They directly contributed to the "Californication" of this formerly quaint little fishing village, and now the grim-reaper of foreclosure and bankruptcy has come for them.
I also recently read in Vanity Fair, an article about Bernard Madoff, famous now for his Ponzi scheme which will land him in prison, hopefully for the rest of his life. He had ENORMOUS minimums that he required in order to "let" people give him their money. And in the name of GREED, they threw money at him, often their life-savings. Yes, there are stories of Palm Beach widows who trusted their husbands and put everything with Madoff who are now having to sell everything and go live with their grown children. I do feel sorry for them, because they were of the generation where women relied completely on men to tell them how to handle their assets. Others who invested with him though, were filthy rich and felt a sense of entitlement to make an even more obscene amount of money. Because a $600 million dollar portfolio just isn't good enough.
It makes me sick and frankly, I don't feel sorry for those people. All of them, from the resort-town developer to the multi-millionaire hoping to become a billionaire, they took RISKS. And that's the thing with risk: you MAY become filthy rich...or you MAY lose your ass and have to sell your private plane and your $25 million dollar chalet in Aspen. I am sick to death of listening to these people whine.
What is wrong with these people that it's just never enough? It's not enough to have 2 or 3 monster homes, a multi-million dollar yacht on which they spend half the year traveling to the world's most exclusive resorts, not to mention the ability to pay for their children (and great-granchchildren for that matter) to go to the most expensive schools in the world? How much more do they "need"?? So now that their RISKS did not pay off as they expected them to (indeed, as they felt ENTITLED to) they might have to live like the rest of us and we're supposed to feel sorry for them?
The extremes of wealth and poverty in this country are sickening. What is wrong with just being in the middle, having just what you need and some of what you want, and if you have more, share it with others so that they might have what they need too?
Yes, that sounds a bit like Socialism, but really, would that be so bad?