Before I get into the meat of my little rant today, let me give you some backstory.
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, a little neighborhood called Flatbush. Flatbush in the late 1980's to the mid 1990's was, for lack of a simpler term, intermittently violent. Gunplay was not a totally uncommon occurrence, and neither was frequent visits by New York's finest. My little neighborhood was -- and still is -- heavily Caribbean, where large families stuffed all their kids into apartments too small to accommodate them. We were a working-class family, where wages didn't rise quite as fast as the cost of living. I eventually struck out on my own, and circumnavigated the humbling process of apartment hunting by simply taking over the lease of my brother's 1,000 square foot place in Sunset Park. And after four years of scratching out a living with a salary that would be MUCH more than adequate anywhere else, I left New York, being priced out of the city in which I was born.
So when I hear Wall Street executives bitch and moan about how their $350K paychecks aren't enough for them to live comfortably, I call bullshit.
When Andrew Schiff, the communications and marketing director of Euro Pacific Capital gripes about "feeling the crunch," and how his 1,200 square foot place is too small, and complains about his lack of a dishwasher, I know we're dealing with someone who can't possibly be from the same New York I'm from. He talks about adding a 600 square foot extension to his place, and having a room for each of his three kids plus a guest room. What, your kids are too good to share a bedroom? He talks about other such travesties of substandard living, like having to do dishes by hand.
"The New York I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach." Well, boo-friggin-hoo.
How about hedge fund manager Alan Dlugach, who is quoted as saying "People who don't have money don't understand the stress." Really? His biggest stresses are whether to pull his kids out of private school, or whether or not to give up his motorcycling habit, or to cut back on the $17,000 a year in expenses for his dogs. Or to sell his beloved Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. Seriously. A drop-top sportscar in New York that you can only use half the year. As opposed to riding the goddamn subway. Hmm.
These are the types of people directly responsible for the economic crisis that we are now suffering. These are the people who feel entitled to excess, and are somehow slighted when they don't get it. I washed dishes by hand. I went to public school. I never owned a car in New York. I rode the subway. I busted my ass every day I lived in New York.
Mr. Schiff thinks that the New York he always wanted is just outside of his reach. He should walk a mile in my old shoes.
PS: all quotes from this blog post are from a Daily Mail article. Read it here.