My Weekend Field Trip to the Land of the Comically Wealthy
During my summer of no expensive vacations, I’ve been trying to take advantage of weekend trips to the homes of friends and family members that lend themselves well to summertime recreation. It’s a great way to see the people we care about while taking a much needed break and not spending a fortune. I just got back from one such trip, visiting family at the beach out on the east end of Long Island. Aside from being a very beautiful place with lovely farms, quaint Main Streets, pristine beaches and all manner of natural beauty, it is also a hive of Extremely Wealthy People.
As I paid $39 for two silver dollar sized egg sandwiches, a bagel, three apple juices and an iced coffee, I had a major epiphany about the 1% of the 1%: Contrary to what you often read about the Warren Buffet types penny pinching their way to their fortune and living well below their means, this is not the main profile of the multi-millionaire. There’s a pretty big contingent of ultra-wealthy people who really do like spending all their money any which ludicrous way they can. In fact, they want to be charged $39 for a deli breakfast! They are inherently suspicious of price-tags that are too small.
I saw money being spent with such reckless abandon, I nearly blushed. Oh sure, they complain their arborist is really fleecing them. But what did they expect when they hired an arborist – that he would come and say, “Nice trees. Nothing for me to do here.” No, the chance to complain about the arborist itself is worth the cost of the arborist.
And this is when I came up with the solution to all our country’s problems.
Many extremely wealthy people endeavor to waste their money on pretty much anything… except paying taxes. So the government simply needs to make paying mega-taxes much more status-imparting. Like paying $250 for yoga pants. Or for an arborist who needs to put every tree on your estate into intensive care. Or any of the unimaginable things on this list of things that rich people have actually bought. The point is, we need to make their jumbo tax bill a humble brag-a-polloza of orgiastic proportions. They need to be telling women in bars about their tax bill, not their submarine sports car. Watch, it’s easy…
Everything comes down to marketing and branding.
All you do is call these elite taxpayers something special like “Platinum Members.” Maybe they get some sort of special card made out of some rare precious metal that they can use to cut the line at, I don’t know, where ever. “Rhodium” sounds good… uncommon, mysterious? So they’re “Rhodium Members.” Sounds vaguely blood diamond, vaguely American West. Non-members don’t know if it’s RHO-dium or ro-DI-um. No wait – “Obsidian!” They are “Obsidian Members” – even more elite than American Express Black, and miles ahead of the riff raff back in “Platinum.” They can finally feel free to go full Lannister on this country.
There can be special “Obsidian Member Lounges” in locations where very fancy people congregate – like wild leopard hunting reserves? Maybe there is a special vanity plate… or a bumper sticker that says “Obsidian Class” with a really super jazzy seal. Definitely invites to events throughout the year that very explicitly say “non-transferable.”
And the .01% of the .01% of taxpayers? They get to flat out write a law. Just go for it. And the law is named for them. I mean, we’ve basically accepted that they kind of are anyway – let’s let them feel special for it and maybe we can collect some tax money to fix the bridges that are about to fall down.
You’re welcome, US government. Boom. Universal healthcare… paid for by Brooklyn Bread.