Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Rich and The Bonkers

Being an ordinary working stiff, I tend to think of earning a hundred grand a year as being pretty good, and if you can earn one-fifty, you're doing great. Certainly, the federal Aussie government considers A$150,000 p.a. as the lower threshold of the super-tax bracket -- in other words, tickle that line, you're counted as RICH downunder, and they start to tax the bejesus out of you.

Now, if this sounds sane to you ... if your idea of the Holy Grail is still a million bucks ... if (like ordinary mortals) you count your pennies to make the mortgage payment and the car payment and pay the $1,683.47 power bill that just got dropped in your mailbox ... then, there is something you need to see:

I can't embed this, because it's not sourced from YouTube, but I urge you to click on this link and spend a wee while on FORA TV. The way you view rich people will promptly change. You might advocate reality therapy for these people: make them live for six months on the age pension, or unemployment (remember the movie, Trading Places ...?), or maybe send them to live on the seventeeth floor of a tenement in Queens, with a factory job to keep the rent paid and groceries on the table.

You might even advocate cutting to the chase, just straitjacketing them and getting them into a nice, safe little rubber room, surrounded by mattress wallpaper, where a keeper comes by every couple of hours and gives them a sedative shot.

How I got to this video, on FORA, I can't even remember. I tend to follow threads, and can end up in astonishing places without much idea how I got there. But for some reason I set it to play, and in five minutes or so I was so gobsmacked, I wound up watching the whole thing. Sweat through the intro, with the moderator; get into the first speaker...

...Robert Frank, author of Richistan. Frank is a commentator on ... the rich. The megarich. The stinking rich. The people whose personal fortunes are around US$1.2b, and who don't think they're rich because they're not stuck up, arrogant, conceited bast-folks. Others who only have $100,000,000 and are so envious of those with more that the jealousy is wrecking their poor little lives. Those with multiple billions, whose lower lips are trembling because (whimper) they have to wait three years to have their custom-built, hand-crafted ocean liner delivered. Awwww, does diddums need a nice, fresh handkie there? Folks who're weeping bitterly because there's a waiting list for that new Ferrari.

And why is there a waiting list? Because there are so many bloody billionaires in the world now, that the top-end luxury goods manufacturers can no longer accommodate them:

The Century FoundationNew York, NY, Jun 26th, 2008: This year Forbes magazine listed 1,125 billionaires in the world, compared to 946 in 2007 and a measly 140 billionaires in 1986, the first year of the publication's ranking. Clearly, the ranks of the billionaire class have swelled.

It's not only their ranks that have swelled. Their heads have, too: sounds like a case of water on the brain, to me. One struggles to grasp this kind of thing; the $300,000,000 impulse purchase, for example ... while at the same time charities are begging for nickles and dimes to irrigate Africa, stop the spread of HIV, get the child prostitutes off the Bangkok streets, fix the climate before we all choke, reverse global warming, restock our fished-empty seas, save the scraps that remain of our rainforest, and so many endangered species ...

And here's a billionaire, grief stricken, aggravated, STRESSED OUT, because his custom design ocean liner won't be delivered for a few years.

Send for the straitjackets. Get these people into institutions, where they belong. Hire a bunch of hypnotherapists to deprogram them, same as the survivors of radical cults are deprogramed. Because these people need it.

They need to be brought back down to earth, hard and fast, and maybe have some home truths about poverty stencilled on their dense little brains. Facts such as Haitian families living on $1 per day, and 30,000 kids every day dying "as a result of extreme poverty." No one needs me to go into the details ... we're all agonizingly aware of what's going on in the world, and if you're in any doubts, go here:
    The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is 17 October.
    Half the world's population, nearly three billion people, live on less than US$2 a day
    Over 800 million people do not get enough food to meet their energy needs.
    More than 840 million adults, of whom 538 million are women, are illiterate.
    In developed countries more than 100 million people live below the poverty line, more than 5 million people are homeless and 37 million are jobless.
    The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the poorest 48 nations (ie a quarter of the world's countries) is less than the wealth of the world's three richest people combined.

Did you read the last line there? The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the poorest 48 nations (ie a quarter of the world's countries) is less than the wealth of the world's three richest people combined. They would be the aforementioned Diddums and his two best mates, who're crying on each other's shoulders because they can't have a new Ferrari right now, today, this morning; because the guy who owns the $300,000,000 house just doesn't want to sell it this very instant.

Nostrakeeganus, he predicting a new boom indstry. Straitjackets. Because if these people are not "the first up against the wall when the revolution comes," it can only be because certain compassionate people got in fast, rescued them and got them safely locked up before the mob could get to them.

Sorry, folks: I know I'm back on the soapbox, but this one seemed to need someone, somewhere, to stand on it for a while!

Cheers, MK.

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