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Is It Time to Take Pity On The Rich?

Is It Time to Take Pity On The Rich?


All of the times we’ve been worrying about whether we can afford our health care premiums, how to pay the mortgage after losing a job or how to feed our children while we wait for the next pay day, we’ve forgotten one very important detail.

The rich have much bigger problems.

Or so claims an article in Bloomberg News where the top 1 percent of earners complain about the budget cutbacks they have had to make because their Wall Street bonuses just aren’t as large these days.† Some of those sacrifices they’ve had to make?† Cutting annual ski trips, choosing between paying the private school tuition or the rental on the summer cottage or even giving up their $7500 a year country club memberships.

One executive quoted complained, “People who donít have money donít understand the stress…Could you imagine what itís like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?Ē

For those who earn less an hour that the dog walkers these people hire to walk their labradoodles and bichon frises (it’s $17 a walk, in case you are curious), it’s hard to feel a lot of empathy for those who think suffering is going to a different neighborhood to chase down $6 a lb salmon.

But pointing out that not being able to afford the trip to Aspen isn’t as dire as not being able to pay both the electric bill and the copay on your medication is apparently poor form, according to The Atlantic writer Megan McArdle.† McArdle believes that it’s the equivalent of “when conservatives rejoice to see union members thrown out of work.”

Her commenters agree. One even argues that it’s better to be poor and scraping than rich and lose income. “A person who was making $18k a year and suddenly finds themselves making nothing, as a practical matter, can often break their lease and move in with mom and get on food stamps until a new job materializes and wind up with only a couple thousand dollars in debt. † Not that it’s not still ultimately much better to be the rich person, but the rich person does get hit with a more panic-inducing financial calamity in the short term.”

Do you think the rich have it harder in the economic downturn?† Let us know in the comments.


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6:25PM PST on Mar 9, 2012

"For example, if a poor person suddenly becomes a millionaire by winning the lottery are they suddenly evil and no longer deserving of pity?"

Well... a not-so-scientific study has shown rich people (or people who are primed to feel rich) are more like to cheat, etc. So possibly. :)

jk, jk.

6:18PM PST on Mar 9, 2012

wow is all i can say to this. how dumb do the rich think we are????

5:28PM PST on Mar 8, 2012

the rick might rather kill themselves than sink down to a lower tax bracket. how many millionaires took a gun to the head when the stock market crashed prior to the Great Depression?

4:38AM PST on Mar 8, 2012

This is such a divisive and -sorry - stupid article. To suggest that all rich people are evil by quoting a few morons who can't see how hard it is to be poor is as idiotic as suggesting that all poor people are stupid. I'm sure there are plenty of evil rich idiots out there, like the ones quoted in this article, but there are also people who have worked their butts off from day one and are actually really decent, caring people who can - and do - bring benefits to others b/c of their money. (For example, if a poor person suddenly becomes a millionaire by winning the lottery are they suddenly evil and no longer deserving of pity?)

Isn't it more about power, and the misuse of power? Rich people have more power simply by virtue of having money, and it's the people who have power and misuse it who cause misery to others.

Look, I'm not defending everyone who has money - but it really doesn't help any of us (including us less wealthy people!) to suggest that anyone who has money is automatically an evil, uncaring person!

6:16PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

Sandra W. The attitude you display which is typical of the 1%, is what is wrong with our society.

3:15PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

@ Sandra W. - how sad it must be to get your jollies coming onto a site, that you obviously disagree with, daily to criticize and spew your hate-filled garbage! Why, I wonder, are people of your sort so addicted to our "left-wing" sites?

I'm not envious of those who have more than me. I am thankful for what I do have. But to trivialize those who have trouble feeding, clothing and housing people is disgusting and vile. Saying that you have it worse by cutting back on a lavish lifestyle, is garish and does NOT compare to trying to survive.

3:10AM PST on Mar 5, 2012

If having money is stressful, the rich can relieve some of that stress on me. I can take it.

1:19AM PST on Mar 5, 2012

Hi Folks,

It is like this:

You have some money with you and you have learned to live within the budget.

You start earning more and your list of "Wants" grows. To get those "Wants" one wants to work more and earn more.

When those wants are fulfilled and one starts getting even more, there will be another list of "More wants".

Thus, one is caught in the endless loop of earning, spending and wanting that can potentially wreak havoc on anyone's life.

Contentment is a great quality, which few of us have. Learn to be contented and see for yourself the change in the quality of your life ,irrespective of whether you have money or not.

12:56AM PST on Mar 5, 2012

Dear dear, so having money is stressful? I would like to try it sometime.

9:27PM PST on Mar 3, 2012

It is hard to think to accept that it is more stressful to have to take your children out of private school than watching your child go to bed hungry. Maybe these people need a dose of reality. They fear having to downgrade their life style while the poor only have to fear not being able to feed, clothe, and house their families. It's all a matter of perspective.

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