Animalistic greedWritten by Tom Morrissey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Investors and everyday people were hit hard when the loathsome Bernard Madoff and his Ponzi scheme encompassing 15,000 clients and $65 billion — a massive scam outdone only by the Social Security Administration — was exposed. Financial futures, retirement savings and education funds were wiped out as the victims felt their worlds slipping away.
Public fury soared last summer as gas prices peaked over the $4 mark and Americans were forced to cut back on driving habits as the price of oil restricted their summer travel. Exxon-Mobil collected immense, record-setting profits, became a prime target of populist rage and transformed into politician’s favorite whipping boy that exemplified corporate greed.
AIG executives were given a firsthand experience with populist rage. Protesters visited their private homes to express disdain with the “greedy executives” for accepting bonuses that were contractually promised. If protesters had their way, the contracts would have been fed into the shredder.
Health insurance companies and doctors are being derided as Congress and the president attempt to pass health care legislation. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called the insurance companies “villains” and “immoral” for the way they treat their customers as Pelosi assumed the companies were trying to derail her public option health care.
President Obama joined in the pile on top of doctors as he accused them of causing pain and suffering and excess cost by performing dreaded tonsillectomies on children for profit. In February, Obama changed his job description and decided he was CEO-in-Chief as he expressed his desire to deny the CEO’s of America large bonuses, corporate jets and trips to Vegas and the Super Bowl.
In the middle of the recession it is becoming fashionable to hide one’s affluence and wealth. Wealthy shoppers still drop the same amount of cash at high-end retail stores, but prefer to come home with white, unmarked bags or have their purchases shipped home. Others are downsizing their extravagance, not because their finances have tanked, but because they assume it is the right thing to do, such as flying commercial airlines rather than private jets. Other affluent people define “stealth wealth” by being “covert” with their wealth.
In the middle of the same recession where the wealthy are hiding their extravagance, a Toledo organization is shoving its extravagance in the public’s face. This institution had the gall to brag about their expansion and run commercials letting Toledoans know that in the midst of double digit unemployment and home foreclosures, their remodeling efforts were successful.
The boasting is disgraceful and compounded by their dependence on tax dollars. Not one bit of shame has emanated from the tax-dollar sucking organization. Funded by property taxes in part, they provide part of the consistent rude awakening to first-time home buyers who get water in the face after escrow is explained, as the question “We have to pay how much extra?” follows the shocked silence.
The tax levies that were not going to be that much extra cash per month add that much disrespect to the homeowners who have suffered foreclosure. Those who voted against the tax levies this organization brought to the ballot are still being extorted as the money is pried out of their white-knuckled grasp with the threat of government breathing down their necks, ready to seize the dissident’s property.
The greedy extortionists have one up on Madoff. Madoff never had the force of law to squeeze his clients and take money from those who weren’t his clients.
The HGTV wannabe’s extravagance comes from the taxpayer who is suffering financially, but that burdened taxpayer should feel bad for the leeches because property values are falling. Perhaps declining home values will be incentive to earn income like the taxpayers it pilfers from.
After examining the greed and extravagance on public display, obvious redundancy delivers an unsuspected whack in the mouth. Toledo already has a tax-funded zoo, located at One Government Center.
E-mail columnist Tom Morrissey at email@example.com.