Thursday, February 12, 2009

Our Ms. Brooks: Deep Thoughts

Today, Rosa Brooks debunked the old saw attributed to the Duchess of Windsor that it was impossible to be "too rich or too thin".

First, Our Ms. Brooks suggests that Americans have suddenly been placed into the position of realizing that they may soon face becoming too thin.

As the economic crisis deepens, many Americans may soon discover what it means to be too thin, an insight that until now has been largely reserved for denizens of the developing world. This is changing. In January, U.S. food banks saw a 30% increase in the number of people who couldn't afford to buy enough food on their own, but 70% of food banks reported that they lacked the resources to feed those extra mouths. (Call it the Economic Crash Diet.)

And why this sudden turnaround for a population long accused of obesity? Well, the other half of the Duchess's pronouncement comes into play here. Some people (read Wall Street barons and banksters) decided that they needed money. Lots of money. More money than anyone else had. And so they found many varied and interesting (not to mention fraudulent) ways to get it. And in getting that money, they plunged the entire planet into financial disaster.

Now that the businesses they headed up are swirling around the toilet, they've decided that it is time for the government to fork over billions so that they can continue to work at getting more money. The financial structures are there, after all, for the sole purpose of making them rich. In their minds, there is no such thing as "too rich." Ms. Brooks suggests, however, that there might indeed be a limit:

But are you too rich?

Well, if you find yourself appalled at the thought of getting by on $500K a year, and you're not the sole support of 10 special-needs children or perhaps a small Third World village or two, you've gotten too rich. If charity balls, chauffeured limos, a household staff and private jets feel like necessities rather than luxuries, you're too rich. And if you've come to feel you have a God-given right to feed at the government bailout trough, but you denounce it as creeping socialism when you're asked to show some personal financial self-discipline in exchange, then yes, you're too rich.

In other words, if these fine and genteel people refuse to accept a cap on their salaries at $500,000 (a rather generous salary for people with a history of profound failure) to continue at their current jobs, then perhaps these same people ought to seek employment elsewhere. The world might be better off for it, both in the short and in the long run.

Oh, and don't let the door slap you on the ass on your way out.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I discovered today that I may have an entirely new career in my future - an assistant assistant housemaid at Holyrood House. L6/hr, lunch included, all benefits and retirement, occasional weekend work as cloakroom attendant. I would not only be given a section of the palace all my own to keep spotless, but I WOULD BE IN CHARGE OF CLEANING ALL THE (unlaquered) BRASS. As references I would produce my childhood where in my own home I too was responsible for cleaning all the brass that Mum had brought back from her service in India. Brasso and I are as one.

Too thin? Too rich? This is a live in position!


1:14 PM  

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