$9 Hot Chocolate–Or, How the Rich Live

Much media in today’s world tempts us with the lifestyle of the rich and famous.  Once in a while, though, you come across an article that has the opposite effect.  This one, entitled “Trying to Live on $500k in New York,” did so for me.  It actually made me glad–I kid you not–that I am not rich.

It is written in response to President Obama’s talk of limiting the salaries of banking executives whose banks take stimulus help to $500k.  It is rather astonishing:

“The cold hard math can be cruel.

Like those taxes. If a person is married with two children, the weekly deductions on a $500,000 salary are: federal taxes, $2,645; Social Security, $596; Medicare, $139; state taxes, $682; and city, $372, bringing the weekly take-home to $5,180, or about $269,000 a year, said Martin Cohen, a Manhattan accountant.”

That’s just a snippet.  The piece is pretty amusing in general, and it does not leave one wishing one was rich.  At least, it didn’t have that effect on me.

Let me editorialize quickly here: it is the height of pique for a President to think, let alone publicly suggest, that he and his government can set the salaries of private executives.  Granted, the stimulus complicates things, as it mingles government and private business, but this is a classic case of meddling.  This is why–no, this is exactly why–government should do all it can to stay out of private commerce.

This is, of course, to say nothing about the stimulus itself.  The Wall Street Journal dices up the stimulus and puts it on the burner to cook in a sometimes hilarious analysis of the President’s plan.  I particularly enjoyed the part where the author explained how, contrary to widespread public opinion, it is not necessarily a good thing for the government to spend money to stimulate the economy, because–obvious alert here–the government is spending taxpayer’s money, and thus taking it out of their hands.  Economics can be tricky stuff, but times are surely strange when a stimulus plan is built on this kind of infallible logic.

I don’t get big government ideology, especially as I now provide for my family and am faced with 1000 things I have to spend my money on.  Yes, some governmental structures are nice–highways and trains come to mind–but beyond the basics, who in their right mind wants to pay more taxes and lose their hard-earned money?  When did people start thinking this was a good idea?

Come to think of it, it makes almost as much sense as $9 hot chocolate.

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  • Matt H.

    It all goes back to the Whigs, my friend.

  • I’m with you. I’m glad I’m not rich.

    And you wonder how much thought Obama put into making that case for $500ks. As pubs like New Yorker said, this will come back to bite him.