Home > Philosophical Underpinnings, The Rich World > My Adventure in the “Rich World”

My Adventure in the “Rich World”

It’s been awhile since I posted, and here is why: The first stop on my latest journey was New York City’s Upper East Side, where I visited certain people who are close to me and whom I will not mention by name. It was a difficult trip, but an enlightening one. The Upper East Side is like a little village where nothing much ever happens, the atmosphere is sterile, and most of the human interaction is between the very rich and their servants.

My hosts live on the thirty forth floor of a building that overlooks the east river. Because many diplomats live in the building all residents must be vetted before they move in. Dry-cleaning is picked up and delivered. The building has it’s own water system and security force. In case of “civil unrest” it will become a fortress.

We sat at one of the many small, luxurious, and entirely predictable little bistros that dot the neighborhood. Over a lovely salmon and a glass of Pinot my hosts confessed their dismay at the thought that I advocate wealth and income redistribution, an economic policy usually associated with the communist revolution. What I wanted to say, but didn’t, is that I too am against the redistribution of wealth as it has actually occurred. Since the “Reagan Revolution” of the 1980s the redistribution of wealth UPWARDS has been extreme and unrelenting, and we (the middle class) would like our money back.

The conversation turned to taxes, particularly the theory behind taxing or failing to tax the uber-rich at an appropriate rate. My host asked me what income level I thought of as being “rich”. As in, rich enough to pay more. I replied that most people in this country, all of the millions that make around twenty thousand a year, if they are “lucky” enough to still be working, would like say that $250,000 a year is the cut. But, I said, I understand that a person of this income feels themselves to be only comfortably middle class. I understand that people in this demographic have big expenses, that they feel inferior to the “truly rich” whose shadow they live under. So, could we agree that a person making ONE MILLION a year was rich enough to pay a larger share in a system of progressive taxation? I got no real answer as the conversation trailed off in the stifling summer air.

I then tackled share holder primacy and the fact that Wall Street doesn’t actually produce any wealth after the first offering of stock, but is rather a large liquid pool of wealth that allows the “owners” to skim the cream from the top in the form of profits, profits gained by stepping on the backs of all other people, other species, and the health of the earth itself. That dog didn’t hunt either, not in that company.

I put off writing about this for months. Publishing it will not increase my popularity in my family. Finally I decided that if I am going to go forth with this project, which I believe in more ever day as I watch the depression deepen around me, I just have to stand in my truth. I didn’t make this world, I just write about it with as much clarity as I can find. So, dear reader, expect the rest of the story soon, now that the log jam in my mind has been broken.

  1. July 20, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Annabel – I commend you for your convictions and bravery! It isn’t always easy to stand alone. But now you’re in good company! We are the “Other 98%” and as difficult a path as that it is, I think I would still rather be there than with the remaining 2%.

    Keep up the good work and know that there are many of us rooting for you and the work you are doing!

  2. July 21, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    A fantastic post, Annabel! Well written in all aspects, including the mental picture you painted and the depth of the experience you had. I will be looking forward to reading more! P. A. Monson, author of Skin Deep

  3. Nikki Dohn
    July 21, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    I really enjoyed this honest and insightful post. I agree it was well written and left me with the feelings you must have had when talking with your hosts. Yes, it took courage and you are to be commended on that!

  4. o
    July 21, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    It’s refreshing to read about class disparity which is not reported elsewhere. It’s nice to know that there are others with the same perspective. Thank you for having the courage to stand behind your convictions because I’m sure it must feel lonely.

  5. mark solomons
    September 20, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    Well – Anabel – if we Americans can pressure Congress – we may just have that over a million mark and a new tax…it is in the air…it is the RIGHT action to take, if we demonstrate that the power is in the people and not in the secluded isolation of the likes of Upper East Side.

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