Okay, look. You’ve got a lot of money. That doesn’t automatically make you an asshole. You can, in fact, do lots of good with your money, and your life, and teach people to read and cure disease and such, even while owning a not-small house and a car that doesn’t double as a mouse nest.
HE’S NUMBER 69 on the latest Forbes 400 list of richest Americans and head of Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private equity firm specializing in corporate takeovers.He lives in a 35-room triplex on Park Avenue in Manhattan, with second “homes”–mansions, really–in the Hamptons, Palm Beach and Jamaica. His private chef regularly spends $3,000 for a weekend’s feasting for him and his wife, including those stone crabs he loves at $400 each. Which works out to $40 a claw.
But comfortable as his life is, Stephen Schwarzman isn’t the kind of guy to allow tyranny to go unopposed. “It’s a war,” he declared in July at the board meeting of a nonprofit organization, according to Newsweek. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”
And what cruel injustice was Schwarzman standing against?
Turns out it’s all those people who want to tax him to death. Schwarzman was talking about a widely supported Democratic proposal–now abandoned, naturally–to close a loophole that allows private equity firms like Blackstone to pay taxes at less than half the rate of normal corporations.
Seriously, the drama:
On Wall Street, the top three dozen publicly held banks, hedge funds and investment firms plan to pay $144 billion in compensation and benefits this year, according to the Wall Street Journal’s survey–the second-straight record-setting year.
But ask any banker, and they’ll tell you sums like that aren’t much comfort when people are just…so…mean.
“We’ve been ostracized,” one unnamed executive told the Observer newspaper.“I went to jury duty about a year ago, and when I said I’m in investment banking, the people in the jury room were making ugh sounds. And I’m like, fuck you. I’m proud of what I do. And I think this firm did a lot to get the recovery going. Ranked somewhere below a pimp and an oil well operator isn’t right.”
Buddy? Dial it back a notch, wouldja? Because honestly, while we all fall prey to forgetting our blessings amidst some problem or other, and Lord knows I’m as prone as anyone to focus on what I don’t have versus what I do, so long as you have a roof over your head and enough to eat and you aren’t shit-ass scared every minute it’s all going to go out from under you, you really don’t have any problems the newspaper should care about.
At least confine your whinging about things like this to parties where everybody else is in the same boat, wondering if they’ll be able to afford to go to Italy a second time this year or whatever it is super-rich people worry about, because those of us out here trying to make a go of one house will tend to at the very least look at you a little funny when you’re complaining about the tile being installed in your fourth.