All of a sudden, it’s like you can’t make huge amounts of money without people getting all pissed off about it. And it’s only going to get worse — with the election coming up and the weather getting warmer, this whole “Occupy” movement is probably going to come back strong. The 1 percent will feel even more besieged than before.
“What the hell?” you’re probably thinking, if you’re somehow both rich and reading an article with this title, “I didn’t crash the economy!” You might even be tempted to take to a microphone, to defend yourself and your wealthy friends. But before you do, I want you to stop and ask yourself, “Will this make me sound like an out-of-touch douchebag?”
#6. “Well, $500,000 a Year Might Sound Like a Lot,
but I’m Hardly Rich.”
“The amount that I have to reinvest in my business and feed my family is more like $600,000 … and so by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over …”— Congressman John Fleming
Pictured here with his poverty.
“It is hard to ask more of households making $250,000 or $300,000 a year. In large parts of the country, that kind of income does not get you a big home or lots of vacations or anything else that is associated with wealth.”— Senator Chuck Schumer
What They Think They’re Saying:
“Come on, we’re all in this together! It’s not like I have infinite money.”
What We Hear:
“When my family’s Aruba vacation went over budget, that was exactly like you being unable to afford medication for your child’s excruciating chronic illness!”
“Look at how tiny my yacht is!”
‘m going to try to only quote politicians and pundits and other public figures for this article, but don’t take that to mean they’re the only people saying this stupid shit. Regular rich folk aren’t exactly reluctant to offer this as a defense (here’s an article on why it’s hard to get by on $500,000 a year in New York, and here’s one on why $200,000 a year isn’t rich in Toronto), and you can go to the comment section of any article that mentions taxes or welfare or income inequality (including this one!) and hear this same bullshit.
“It’s gotten to where I can barely afford my daily cigar rolled in the tanned flesh of a forsaken child.”
Hell, you’ve probably heard it in real life, from a boss or some guy sitting nearby at Starbucks. “I guess I’m considered rich now! Well, if I’m so ‘rich,’ why am I broke at the end of the month?!?” Uh, I think it’s because your mortgage is $3,000 a month, since you live in a fucking palace. And because you took your family on that Disneycruise last summer. And because you pay for your kids’ college, so that,unlike us, they won’t be crushed under six figures of student loan debt at age 22. And because you eat all the best foods and drink the finest liquids.
Or, as Hamilton Nolan at Gawker put it, “‘Sure, it’s an objectively large sum of money,’ they say. ‘But it is far smaller after I spend it.'”
“Once I pay for the helicopter, the helicopter fuel, the townhouse and the Lexus, I barely have more spending money than your entire yearly salary.”
For people who are grinding through overtime just to keep up with their bank’s late fees, this induces an urge to storm a gated community with pitchforks and torches and make those people go spend a year in a trailer park or in a city apartment so small that when you flush the toilet, little droplets of piss splatter onto the bed.
But don’t get too mad at the rich for saying this — we shouldn’t, as a rule, get as angry at people for being oblivious as we should when they’re being intentionally evil. Besides, they can’t help it — that obliviousness is hard-wired, a product of evolution that, really, kind of explains all class tension in the world. The rich, along with all of us, are biologically programmed to not notice their advantages.
“This stuff? I guess I could use it to prop up the table.”
This came up a while back in a previous Cracked article. Basically, your brain drains the pleasure from the current things you own and do in order to motivate you to keep hunting and gathering. And I don’t care where you are on the economic ladder, you’ve experienced this yourself.
You remember that scene from Big, where the boy-in-an-adult-body Tom Hanks gets his first paycheck at his shitty data entry job and screams in celebration, “A HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN DOLLARS!” When you’re a kid begging mom for 10 bucks at a time so you can buy some stickers for your Trapper Keeper (this is still 1984, right?), $200 seems like the kind of money that should come on a huge novelty lottery check. But then just a few years later, you get that first fast food job and watch your paycheck evaporate on just one car payment (the insurance takes the next one).
That leaves just enough extra money for a Netflix subscription and a bowl to cry into.
It is apparently entirely possible to stay in that mindset, ignoring each new asset, right up until you’re sleeping on a platinum bed under covers made of fur from a cloned woolly mammoth. If someone tries to offer you a little perspective and remind you of the tremendous advantages you no longer even notice, you’ll reply with something like …