Just Walt's Mental Meanderings

Walter Blevins

Walter Blevins
Vista, California, USA
August 22
I'm a 60 year old guy who lives in Vista California with my wife. I spent the 30 years before moving to Cali in Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota. And I have 2 grown children, a son and a daughter who live in Virginia and Iowa and a 22 year old step-daughter lives with us here in Vista. I'm a proud grandpa with 2 grandaughters living in Virginia. I like to write about a whole variety of things from my kids to cooking to politics to the car industry to my status as a "Cheap Bastid" and "Old Fart" and just random thoughts. And I really love writing about cooking really good, homecooked comfort food cheap. That's why they call me the Cheap Bastid. By the way--all the stuff I write is my stuff and you can't use it without my official OkeyDokey

MARCH 1, 2012 9:24AM

These Guys Take the Damned Cake

Rate: 19 Flag

Ann Landers once provided her definition of chutzpah in her column.  She wrote that chutzpah is the young man pleading for mercy from the court because he is an orphan—when he was being sentenced for murdering his parents.

That’s kind of what’s been going through my head today after reading an article from Bloomberg News.  The headline of the article read “Bonus Withdrawal Puts Bankers in Malaise”.   So while you’re reading the rest of this play this song because it really, really fits these guys.


Now I don’t know if the headline was suggesting that bonuses have been withdrawn or that bankers were suffering withdrawal like an addict goes through but probably it doesn’t matter.

Over the last few years I’ve gotten kind of numb to the machinations of brokers and investment bankers and the harm they have done to both our economy and our nation.  And I’ve avoided taken too much umbrage because it just doesn’t do any good.

I’ve kind of taken an approach like Mister “T” who has long been know for saying “pity the fool”. 

But this is just the absolute worst kind of arrogance.  Unmitigated gall.  Sense of entitlement.  Here’s a couple of excerpts from the article that really got me spitting and spluttering:

"People who don't have money don't understand the stress," said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. "Could you imagine what it's like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?"


The malaise is shared by Andrew Schiff, the New York-based marketing director for Euro Pacific Capital, where his brother is CEO. His family rents the lower duplex of a brownstone in Cobble Hill, where his two children share a room. His 10-year- old daughter is a student at $32,000-a-year Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. His son, 7, will apply in a few years.

"I can't imagine what I'm going to do," Schiff said. "I'm crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don't have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand."

He wants 1,800 square feet -- "a room for each kid, three bedrooms, maybe four," he said. "Imagine four bedrooms. You have the luxury of a guest room, how crazy is that?"

The family rents a three-bedroom summer house in Connecticut and will go there again this year for one month instead of four. Schiff said he brings home less than $200,000 after taxes, health-insurance and 401(k) contributions. The closing costs, renovation and down payment on one of the $1.5 million 17-foot-wide row houses nearby, what he called "the low rung on the brownstone ladder," would consume "every dime" of the family's savings, he said.

"I wouldn't want to whine," Schiff said. "All I want is the stuff that I always thought, growing up, that successful parents had."


Here's a link to the full article:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-29/wall-street-bonus-withdrawal-means-trading-aspen-for-cheap-chex.html



Awwwwww, too bad for those poor fellows and their underprivileged children.  Having to sacrifice by only renting their summer home for 1 month rather than 4.  Having to risk the spectre of their children attending public schools with the “unwashed” and “untouchable”. 

Man I feel bad for these guys.  Don’t you?  They are so obviously struggling just to make ends meet.

And people wonder why there is talk of a risk of class warfare in this nation?  And people wonder why so many are angry at the “1%”?

I just leads me to shake my head and mutter to myself, “assholes.”

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Some of these folks have serious issues with reality. I believe in karma and I doubt karma will forget them.
Lawd, lawd what am I going to do
I got the no olive in my martini blues...
Desert--I read the article yesterday and was just tongue-tied for a bit. Thanks.

Whirlwind--Thanks. And the insanity just gets "insaner and insaner".
I'm glad you brought this up, as I have just started counseling service for despondent bankers. We're seeking donations to offset start-up expenses but expect to be turning a profit as soon as the bankers beat a path to our door.
ChickenMaaan--dammit. Everytime a see a comment with your avatar my mind immediately goes to the old AM radio schtick "Chicken Maaaaaan! He's everywhere, he's everywhere. Bawwwkkkk, Bawwwkkkkk, Bawwkkk, Buuuuuuuccccckkkkkkkkkkk!
My first encounter with this type of attitude was about 15 years ago. I got into a long one-way heart-to-heart earful about how it's almost "impossible to raise two kids in Salt Lake City on $200,000 per year". Remember, that was $200,000 in 1997.

I learned to be more careful about barroom conversations.
AnotherSteve--and of course the person you were talking to had no conception that there were many people in Salt Lake City in 1997 raising 2 kids on $20K a year! Thanks.
Even when I was in the Biz, I always lived like an earth- hippy as far as spending goes. I was spending about $20k living a moderately high-life in Milwaukee at that time. I was well aware of that fact because I am an habutual budgeteer.

She stunned me into silence.
Lord, my hubby just lost his job and we are worrying about what we will do after two weeks. These people have no sense of reality.
These people need to be taken to places where they can spend some time among people who raise families on $20k.
What a pity to watch the downfall of our nouveau aristocracy. Alas and alack! A pox on them, I say.
Linda--awwwww, I am truly bummed to hear about your husband. Yeah, we are definitely living in at least 2 different Americas. You just have to look down, shake your head, mutter a bit and then go on. It's all we've got left.

Chrissie--Thanks. I agree. And there are plenty of places to take them. Most people can experience it right in their own hometown.

Erica--I love it. "Nouveau aristocracy". They would like to be the "aristocracy" but they don't even come close.
Good post and I love the asshole graphic.
Wow. There is a serious disconnect from reality with people like this. I'm just absolutely in shock.
jmac--thanks. I guess I'm just getting old or something to find this kind of stuff so reprehensible. I guess it's the aging egalitarian in me.

Darla--I'm glad you're in shock. Quite frankly, I'm neither shocked nor outraged--just resigned to all the crap that seems to constantly rain down which some think is just fine and which I have always found to be repugnant.
No, it's an insult to all the assholes to call these guys assholes! Maybe Asshole Supreme! R
Jane--point well taken. Thanks.
They don't have a dishwasher because their maid washes their dishes. Or--on that ridiculous day off that the human rights campaigners insist that the maid get--they eat out.
Amy--Yep, it takes me back to that old saying from the early 90's...
"life's a bitch; and then you die."
I read that article. What boggled me was when they said that they don't save any of their money- they spend ALL of it. Wow. They gripe on us for not saving when they are blowing 10x's our salary every year. Chutzpah, indeed.
I have read and reread this a number of times now Walt and there are so many points to write about that it would take a whole entry just to do them all justice. For brevity's sake I will just say that one of the most telling statements this guy made was at the end where he mentions that he just wants the stuff he grew up believeing that all SUCCESSFUL parents had. My father would have laughed at that while my grandfather would have given the guy a swift kick in the ass. Me, all I can do is shake my head and wonder when, not if, that class war will happen.
Phyllis45--yeah, I caught that too--which makes it doubly appalling--these guys apparently think that money is indeed an inexhaustible commodity growing on the tree supplied by the schmoes who they hoodwink into investing with them.

David--yeah, these guys tend to come from money and see it as an entitlement. They should go out and sling a hammer for a while or tote a hod to start to understand the linkage between work, money, values and family.
Working in an industry that supplied luxury items to the wealthy, I'd go into homes that were 12 to 20 THOUSAND square feet with two to five people living in them. The items they owned and the architecture of the homes required proprietary services for just about anything. It was amazing to hear the child-like panic in these people when anything would fail to operate (and because they bought on the leading edge of technology and the systems were incredibly complex, they frequently did). I once listened to one, a man who's yearly income from investments and his CEO salary probably could have run a city of 100,000 people, lament his inability to remotely control his hot tub from work with the despondency of someone who didn't know how they'd afford dialysis...
One more thing: In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald says, "The rich are different from you and me." Perhaps it's their indifference to others he should have observed, as well. Oh, that's right, he did.
Samasiam--thanks. And these folks are the ones which John Boehner and his cronies call "jobs creators".
Class warfare has been happening for years. To wit:

Overall, CEOs at S&P 500 companies were paid $11.4 million on average last year, up from $9.2 million the year before, according to the AFL-CIO. In contrast, average workers saw their annual pay go up to $33,121, from $32,049 in 2009, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank. So the pay gap of CEOs over workers shot up 20% last year, to 344 times an average worker's pay from 287 times.

Back in the 1980s, this pay gap was just 40.

CEOs got a whopping 24% pay hike last year as corporate profits soared with the recession's end, more than making up for two years of declining pay.

The average worker? Not so much. Those lucky enough to still have jobs saw their pay inch up a meager 3.3%, which might have been enough to cover the rising prices of gas and food.

Wait. WHAT?! The disconnect is stunning.
consonantsandvowels--thanks. but, I beg to differ. what you refer to is the disparity between "economic classes". class warfare is when this disparity ultimately leads to actual conflict and violence. I worry that it may lead to that. scary thought.

unbreakable--it's an incredible disconnect all right--both economically and attitudinally. those folks seem to think that somehow they're entitled
No dishwasher. OMG, I guess I can rent them mine. "Hey, Terri, Come here a minute baby"!
Scanner--yeah and $350K a year would probably keep about half of OS members afloat!
Walter, your righteous indignation, and of the other commenters, really doesn't impress anybody. During the Great Depression there was REAL hunger...no Food Stamps, remember...with the stereotypical sad sack selling pencils or apples on a street corner, and soup kitchens, and the Dustbowl...all the while the Carnegie-Mellons and DuPonts and Rockefellers were leading an even MORE privileged life with hundreds of American, not Latino/foreign, domestics and servants slavishly attending to their every whim. So what you're describing today is NO different. I guess everybody's memory is short.
Jejeune--thanks. I think
I take your meaning, but mine (evidently unclear) was that the economic disparity promulgated and maintained by one economic class over another is a kind of insidious warfare.
consonants--yep, and the bastards are winning. Their standard of living goes up (in spite of what the Bloomberg article maintains) while it goes down for the rest of us. I wonder what the unemployment rate is on Wall Street?
And, will this type of insidious warfare eventually devlolve into a more traditional and violent conflict? I wonder.
Was that Bloomberg News or The Onion? It's not only that the sense of entitlement is so inordinate, it's the lack of awareness that 99% of their fellow citizens can't even dream of living like that. What they pay for schooling their 10-year old is, for million of Americans, a year's income for a family of four.
The entire US banking system is now the new Organized Crime Syndicate. They are criminals along with politicians.....o/e
Abrawang--Thanks. You're right, the attitude is so ludricrous that one would not be surprised to see it originating from the Onion.

o/e--Thanks. You've got a point. I do recall over the years that the best partners I had in community-based economic development were local bankers. The key word here is "local".