You know world financial markets are roiling when Dubai is having trouble:
No one knows how bad things have become, though it is clear that tens of thousands have left, real estate prices have crashed and scores of Dubai’s major construction projects have been suspended or canceled. But with the government unwilling to provide data, rumors are bound to flourish, damaging confidence and further undermining the economy.
There’s nothing inherently immoral about having a lot of money, if you can keep it in perspective. The median U.S. household income in 2007 was $50,233, and only 5% of U.S. households had incomes of more than $177,000. Statistically, if your income is anywhere near $500,000 a year, you’re rich. If you make as much as the CEOs of the nation’s 500 biggest companies (whose compensation averaged $12.8 million in 2007), you’re very, very rich. If you took in the $657 million averaged in 2006 by each of the top 20 private equity and hedge fund managers, you’re insanely rich.
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.
Too stupid to plan ahead for a downturn — which always happens in the business cycle — and socked nothing away on your gazillion dollar salary? Then you are too stupid for words. You rely on frequent tax breaks to bail out yer ass instead of being fiscally responsible? Then you are a moron.
Fiscal discipline. It’s not just for the other half. And maybe, just maybe, if you learn to live on less, it might carry over to more prudent and less sketchy business practices, too.
So the rest of us won’t have to bail out your reckless asses. Again.
Some days, you just have to turn to Lewis Black (YouTube) for advice. (Caution: don’t play this loudly at work or in front of small children. *g*)
H/T reader bill and Twisted Martini.