Yesterday, a certain perplexing article came out on Bloomberg News. The piece essentially amounted to a handful of finance professionals lamenting their six-figure paychecks that just got a big hit.
The details about one finance executive is particularly disturbing.
Schiff, 46, is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country’s top 1 percent by income, doesn’t cover his family’s private-school tuition, a Kent, Connecticut, summer rental and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square- foot Brooklyn duplex.
His 10-year- old daughter is a student at $32,000-a-year Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. His son, 7, will apply in a few years.
The family rents a three-bedroom summer house in Connecticut and will go there again this year for one month instead of four. Schiff said he brings home less than $200,000 after taxes, health-insurance and 401(k) contributions. The closing costs, renovation and down payment on one of the $1.5 million 17-foot-wide row houses nearby, what he called “the low rung on the brownstone ladder,” would consume “every dime” of the family’s savings, he said.
I'm sure many of us will have a reaction along the lines of "What a spoiled son of a -----!" which is certainly a legitimate reaction. Most of us could only dream of what material and worldly possessions said Mr. Schiff has amassed. It's to be expected that we should feel outraged at this man's sense of entitlement and lack of appreciation for his good fortune.
But this is nothing new. We've always known that many bankers make boatloads of money that the common man feels is unjustified, and that these people aren't too apologetic for their wealth. However, I think there another issue at hand - one that utterly perplexes me.
It's one thing to be in the so called 1%, but it's entirely another to be lamenting your misfortune, publicly about taking a financial hit and... still being in the 1%. I imagine that these people, including Mr Schiff, are intelligent and hard working people. One typically doesn't accidentally run into a mid-six figure salary. Why such supposed 'smart' people would make comments that don't help their own situation at all is befuddling to me.
A person being selfish and self-centered is nothing new and not really something I can blame anyone for; it's basically in our nature to be so. But if you're selfish and intelligent, for crying out loud take it all the way! How could saying these things to a reporter for a national news outlet possibly help Mr. Schiff accomplish his goals of (a) making more money, or (b) paying less taxes? Did he really think that because this is Bloomberg news, he'd get votes of sympathy? After all, most people reading the story are going to be closer to the 'Average American' than the Wall Street elite.
Most people can only dream of Wall Street’s shrinking paychecks. Median household income in 2010 was $49,445, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
The woe-is-me attitude of the finance execs in this story does not surprise me. If you look hard enough, there is probably some spec of legitimacy in their laments. But their utter stupidity in making their thoughts public is something that I just cannot wrap my head around.
If you have an agenda to make more money, have more money, and keep more money, then your actions should align with your ambitions. This article will only fuel the general population's fire of hate and angst towards the finance industry.
I am positive that 99% of the finance industry would have declined to be in this article. In a twist of irony for Mr. Schiff and others, it would seem that they not only find themselves in the top 1% of wealth, but they also find themselves in the top 1% of cluelessness within their own industry.
 It's been less than 24 hours since the story went live, and there are now 1238 comments on the original article - much more than I have ever seen on Bloomberg.com - and I am sure that most of them resemble hate mail rather than condolences.
 Exactly how much you empathize will of course depend on the person.
Crossposted from my main blog