Rich forced to ditch country clubs, summer homes post-recession
In the years during and since the recession, it’s been no small feat drumming up sympathy for the rich.
Like everyone else, they had their jobs threatened, paycheques cut and lifestyles changed. Like everyone else, they were forced to adapt to a new world where money isn’t what it once was.
Though at a time when people were being booted from their homes, not just their country clubs, feeling sorry for the wealthy has been one tough sell.
Which is what makes this feature from Bloomberg so interesting.
I stared at this mini-profile on the altered realities of the rich for more than an hour recently, deciding just what opinion, if any, to form from the narrative.
*Bing: What is Canada’s average income?
In short, the piece highlights how the affluent are coming along in their bonus-slashed world, still getting by on six figures but no longer getting by on seven. At times, given some of the quotes I’ve picked out below, it’s tough to tell if Bloomberg’s reporter, Max Abelson, is in on the joke. A couple of the “Wait, they’re not serious, right?” lines from the still-rich featured in the piece:
1) “I feel stuck. The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach.” – Andrew Schiff, a director of marketing who now earns a lower bonus, on how his $350,000 income no longer covers his kids’ private school tuition and Connecticut summer home rental.
2) “They have a circular that they leave in front of the buildings in our neighbourhood. We sit there (now), and I look through all of them to find out where it’s worth going.” – A Wall Street headhunter, Daniel Arbeeny, on his new grocery shopping habits. Admitting his income has gone down “tremendously” since the recession, the 49-year-old is now forced to scan supermarket flyers for deals, lamenting that he now drives to weekend markets to buy salmon for $5.99 a pound.
3) "Yes, terminal diseases are worse than getting the flu, but you suffer when you get the flu.” – A University of Chicago law professor, M. Todd Henderson, characterizing that while poor people losing money is more drastic, it still hurts the rich, too.
At this point, I should clarify my above point about struggling to form an opinion here, because that should read I’m struggling to form a unique opinion about the perils of the wealthy.
Instead of dismissing the trials of the rich when they are, relatively speaking, ridiculous to most of the world, could there really be an argument made to empathize with what’s happening?
The best I could come up with is the kids. While having to scrap a week at the Hamptons and ditch the $7,500 annual golf membership is hardship, it’s nonetheless unfortunate that many children are having to be pulled from school through no fault of their own. It doesn’t defend sending kids to super-expensive private schools in the first place, but it’s the best argument I can find for feeling sorry for the humbled rich, post-recession.
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: Dave | Mar 7, 2022 6:28:08 AM
It is a shame that our society ever let these people end up in such a situation in the first place. We should all work together so that there is never such a massive chasm between the rich and the poor. That way when the rich are forced to take a cut in pay the fall won't be from such a great height.
Perhaps if the wealthy paid a fair tax rate on their total income & assets the public schools wouldn't be so bad and there wouldn't be a problem with their children going to public schools?
It's ok though. America is quickly moving towards an Indian society Very rich and very poor. Canada will get to be India's Bangladesh and Mexico will be Pakistan.
Posted by: John Gaul | Mar 7, 2022 8:35:11 AM
Somehow I cannot summon up a tear for these people. The fact that Capitalism, their system of choice has failed them is the real story. This system has to be changed and changed drastically. It is necessary because it is destroying the lives of most people (the non rich) and the environment on which we all , rich or poor, depend.
If this change were to happen the next article in this series would be - Where Have All the Billionaires Gone?. On the other hand there would be other articles about the recovery of the middle and lower classes as well as an improvement in the functioning of our natural environment.
It would be too bad for the billionaires reduced to mere millionaires and them many multi millionaires who would have to subsist of a net wealth of a few million but that is the price of progress.
Posted by: John Galt | Mar 7, 2022 10:36:41 AM
I have no sympathy for the folks forced to take these cuts because they have not had the foresite to save some of their wealth and have not been able to compete well enough to produce the wealth required to maintain their lifestyle. It sounds like people living above their means on rewards that were not earned in the first place.
Wealth should be an earned priveledge not an entitlement. The poor are poor because they choose to be and the rich who are rich by chance or lucky birthright alone won't stay that way. I have great respect for wealthy people who have earned their wealth and enjoy it as the earned reward for their work and ingenuity. These are the people that create and fire the engine of our economy.
Without the abilty to earn acording to your abilty and effort, there is little incentive to innovate or do your best work. People who cry about the gap between rich and poor tend to be in the lower range and tend to believe things like "money is evil" or "wealthy people are greedy and undeserving". How deserving is a "poor" person who doesn't use his or her talents to earn the most that they believe they are worth? How productive is that attitude that "wealth is bad" if you want to attain wealth? There are alot of homemakers and blue collar workers who have come up with great ideas and had the conviction to see it through to earn thier wealth. Capitalism allows this and it is available to anyone who has the passion and courage to go after it intelligently.
Stop thinking like a looter who wants to steal from the ingenuity, and convictions of the successful and we'll all be better off. If people live their lives in eternal escape mode wishing for something better but never doing anything productive to earn it, well, I really don't have any sympathy or support for that majority. The means to their success is within their own hands and is supported by a capitalist system not the other way around. The sooner people stop thinking like whiny peasants who are green with envy and too lazy or scared to really earn what they want, the better off we'll all be.
Posted by: John Galt | Mar 7, 2022 10:48:56 AM
I don't think the rich should be punished for being successful.
Capitalism may not be perfect, but it is the best option.
Posted by: Trixie | Mar 7, 2022 11:14:42 AM
I agree with Mr. Galt. The rich should not be punished for working hard and being successful.
IN general, the rich do not have the same worries as the poor. However, I think that you can get sick whether you are rich or poor and no amount of money is going to help you.
Again, I agree with Mr. Galt. "Capitalism may not be perfect, but is is the best option."
Posted by: Denise | Mar 7, 2022 11:19:32 AM
WELL, BOO F****N HOO!
Posted by: Bobby44 | Mar 7, 2022 11:38:01 AM
There is a difference between the upper (and very upper) middle class and the rich. The rich are like the poor. Market crashes and job losses do not apply to them in term of life changing. The folks who suffer the most are in between. We have enough to lose and not enough to be insulated from losses.
The biggest losers are those who benefit from generosity of others. Arts and science research - all the way to the soup kitchen lines. If we continue to have hard times and then stop the 'write offs' associated with support for these endeavors - we will lose some of them.
Get the economy back on track! Regulate the financial world in a real way! Lose the debt so the money we spend has value!
Then we all will feel RICH!
Posted by: DebitFree65 | Mar 7, 2022 12:34:25 PM
It effects all classes of people. But no I do not feel sorry for anyone.
Posted by: carl | Mar 7, 2022 1:20:43 PM
Mr. Galt and Trixie obviously are not totally in touch with reality, the wealthy(80%) for the most part are that way by fate or by criminal entreprise. I would like them to come live(here in Canada) where I live where one family controls not only most of the business but has so much political power as to thwart any other entity from flourishing. To Mr. Galt things like buying a property next to a flourishing business, establishing the same type of business, cutting its prices so low that the original business cannot compete is good business. Of course the when the original business goes under just imagine what the price of good at that business is then. How about having so much political clout as to influence the issuance of building permits to business wishing to start a business in the area. How about another smaller business who at the prospect of one of their best producing employees decided to send two goons to employees wife at home. This goes on every day in this country. The rich thwart creativity and nouveau rich in this country and that is why ultimately there will have be a revolt. When rich people can influence in such matters as getting special tax breaks for everything they do, there is something wrong. How about the rich family who at the time of building their 10 million dollar home decided to put a chapel in it to take advantage of the whole thing being property tax exempt.In a perfect world capitalism works but in this world the rich corrupt it to the point it malfunctions. No sir, you are spreading the message that the rich want you to spread and I for one balk at your statements. The rich take advantage of the less fortunate for the most part, whether here or some third world country and in my mind they should be thankful of their ngood fortunes and be leaders in society to make it better for everyone and not try to squeeze every last drop of blood from the less fortunate. Leeches. I do however have a great respect for those who through all of this succed in bringing new and wonderful things into the world using their genius but most of the rich are just self centered meglomaniacs who think they're entitled.
Posted by: Northern Ontario | Mar 7, 2022 1:58:32 PM
A thriving free society needs various levels of wealth/class in order to function properly. People need incentives to want to earn more income/wealth to enjoy perks they never had. What we need to do is to ensure wealth does not influence political decisions and that political decisions are made purely for the best interest of society. There is simply too much entitlement going around at all levels which needs to stop. A few examples are:
1) Should an MPP secure a very good pension for 6 years in office - NO
2) Should Quebec Students have the right to complain for such little pay hike in tuition fees- NO
3) Should stay at home Moms receive a salary - NO
4) Should Teachers, Vice Principals and Principals receive 60% of their income as a pension plan which averages out to $4000 per month - NO
5) Should the provinces continue to demand 6% transfer payments from the Fed Government to pay for our Healthcare Increases - NO
I can write a book about so much waste/spending on so many issues but in the end, each of you will have at least 2-3 entitlements; that should you not get it, you will cast your vote elsewhere. That's why we are in the mess we're in.
Posted by: Trixie | Mar 7, 2022 3:03:13 PM
To Carl: The rich CAN'T take advantage of the poor in this country, simply put, if you don't want the job, you can walk away and you do not have to work. Then, in this great country of Canada, you go apply for some sort of social assistance and it is handed to you.
I like what Northern Ontario says. People need incentives. THAT is why capitalism works. You have to try to become the best at what you do, or you are squashed. Therefore, you only survive as a company if you are one of the best. That is how it should be.
Posted by: Dave | Mar 7, 2022 8:58:17 PM
Lehman Brothers went bust yet Goldman Sachs who wasn't far behind didn't go bust. "Must be the magic of Captialism"
Toronto Skydome built at great cost to the taxpayers virtually 'gifted' to the Rogers family "Magic of Capitalism".
Bell, Rogers, Telus have bloated poorly run mobile telecom business that charge way beyond what virtually every other developed country charges yet no one else is able to compete "Magic of capitalism".
TD, BMO, Scotia, CIBC,Royal have great profits, lousy products and poor service yet no competition from the worlds greatest banks, must be "Magic of capitalism".
I could go on and on with many other worldwide and Canadian specific examples but many people are too stupid to see how rigged the game is.
So yes, people who work and earn a large income that gets suddenly reduced without notice are Capitalism's losers and should suffer badly. People who are bailed out at every turn with your dollars money are "proof of Capitalism's" effectiveness.
One could ask why ambitious people left Europe to come to a country that didn't have an entitled aristocracy but what's the point? Too many people want to punish teachers, pensioners, children and low income people so that we can maintain the rigged system that helps Thomson, Weston, Irving, Rogers, Pattison etc. maintain their position.
We can all sit around and laugh at the nouveau riche become nouveau poor. While the truly wealthy smirk at charging everyone $100 + for transmitting the 1GB of wireless data that costs them $0.05 etc. Oh well at least these crooked capitalists are "OUR" crooked capitalists. Yeah Adam Smith !
Posted by: ray larder | Mar 7, 2022 11:22:49 PM
I know there are decent hard-working businesses out there that earned their wealth and deserve it, but how do you explain these bankers in Canada, 5 yrs ago they made 6 million now they make 10 million, people place their money in these banks for very little interest and many charges.
The Public Sector is enriching themselves beyond reason , police, Firemen, teachers, nurse's, a big paycheck every week without fail, while the Private Sector has collapsed.
Privitize all jobs to make the system fair.