Thursday, February 14, 2008

Does America need an excess wealth tax? Don’t even dare think about renting another yacht until you read this.

It’s enough to break your heart and make you want to join Billionaires for Bush, those adorable folks at right.

A professional survey reveals that a typical household with a net worth of a piffling $10 million felt it just had to spend over $600,000 last year, simply to make it through the summer.

This research into the heartbreaking lives of the superrich was conducted by the wealth management consultants Prince & Associates, and by Elite Traveler magazine.

Typical summer expenses that this highly stressed lot of poor little rich people felt they absolutely had to make last year included (but was not limited to):

•Yacht rentals – $384,000
•Redecorating – $129,000
•Villa Rentals – $106,000
•“Experiental excursions” - $103,000
•Jewelry and watches – $94,000
•Booze and wine for personal use - $17,000
•Entertaining - $56,000
•Apparel and accessories – $34,00
•Luxury resort stays – $41,000
•At home spa services – $38,000

In all, what with one thing or another, the superrich spent something more than $622,000 per household last summer, just to get through the season. That’s up more than 50 percent over summer spending from two years before.

To be fair, the super-wealthy households also planned to donate $82,000 to charities of one kind or another, although they do get fat tax deductions for their donations. And the poor babies do need tax deductions. If you’re merely an average working stiff you just can’t understand how difficult it is to get by these days.

For example, the superrich felt they simply had to spend more on booze than a household in the lowest quintile of American family income earns all year. I mean, hey, ya gotta keep up with the Joneses, right?

No wonder these folks, some of whom earn in excess of $5 or $10 or $150 million in a year have so much trouble saving that their total net worth can be as pathetically low as $10 or $15 million. You try and save when you absolutely have to spend $31,000 in one summer for audio and visual equipment. I mean, what will everybody say if you don’t have a wall-wide flat screen TV in every room of your Hamptons estate?

No wonder President Bush wants to make his tax cuts permanent. How else are these poor multi-millionaires (not to mention the struggling billionaires) going to make it through August?

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