Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thoughts on inequities of wealth

It was the $26,000 purse that caught my attention. I'd been listening to the radio and the announcer was talking about the recent trouble that the D.C. tax office has been caught in - millions stolen by means of fake refund checks that some employees apparantly wrote to shell businesses that they owned. One detail that she mentioned was that one of the accused had allegedly bought a $26,000 handbag.

And an odd thought came into my head: that's the cost of the two most expensive sundaes in New York put together. You see, the restaurant that came up with the $1,000 sundae a few years ago apparantly decided that that had been far too modest and so trumped themselves with a $25,000 sundae this year. (Apparantly, restaurants in New York have been competing with each other to come up with such publicity stunts, each more absurd than the other, with outrageously priced bagels, pizza, etc.)

The whole thing makes me think about how wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few - so much so that apparantly the $1,000 sundae can be described as "popular" with rockstars and socialites. And we've come to see wealth as an acceptable ambition in and of itself, without regard to *how* you get there. Lotto? Great! Sharp dealing? Clever! This attitude is reflected in the "horse-race" coverage of next year's elections. What's important is which candidate is raising the most money quickly, not their values, their platform, or even who they're raising that money from.

Our tax structure is imbalanced and has only become more so in recent years. We can find money for warfare but none for the physical infrastructure of this country? None to look at encouraging small enterprise? Just where are our priorities, anyway?

(Just for the record, my purse is home-sewn from fabric I picked up from the remainders table at the fabric store, and the fanciest sundae I can recall ever having was less than $10, and a special treat to celebrate my dad's and my birthday.)

2 Comments:

Blogger tumblewords said...

It is amazing, dangerous and polarizing. I cannot believe the disparity nor the apparent willingness for so many to buy into the scheme.
Well written.

11/13/2007 1:21 PM  
Anonymous christine said...

One of the symptoms of this disease ( or is it a sin) is the need to display that wealth. It does not matter whether it's an over-priced sundae or a big house. We see huge mansions going up on top of the most prominent hill or mountainside overlooking the lake - you cannot avoid seeing it. Usually they are occupied only a few weeks out of the year and you can be sure the owners have other such houses elsewhere.

11/14/2007 8:58 AM  

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