New Yorkers: $500,000 (per year) Poverty

The New York Times ran this article last Friday: Trying to Live on 500k in New York City.

After this wretched, socialistic bail-out passes (and it will), President Obama wants to set the maximum annual salary for banking executives whose companies accept bail-out money at $500,000 per year.

The linked article declares that $500,000 per year in New York City is a laughable notion.


Few are playing sad cellos over the fate of such folk, especially since the collapse of the institutions they run has yielded untold financial pain. But in New York, where a new study from the Center for an Urban Future, a nonprofit research group in Manhattan, estimates it takes $123,322 to enjoy the same middle-class life as someone earning $50,000 in Houston, extricating oneself from steep bills can be difficult.

Here’s a great idea: base your business in a different, more cost-effective city. Ditch New York.

Houston sounds like a great idea.

Barbara Corcoran, a real estate executive, said that most well-to-do families take at least two vacations a year, a winter trip to the sun and a spring trip to the ski slopes.

Total minimum cost: $16,000.

Except for trips to visit my wife’s family and going to religious conferences, my wife and I have spent three days total in three years on out of town “vacations.”

Cry me a river, random un-named banking executive.

A modest three-bedroom apartment, she said, which was purchased for $1.5 million, not the top of the market at all, carries a monthly mortgage of about $8,000 and a co-op maintenance fee of $8,000 a month. Total cost: $192,000.

Three-bedroom apartments in New York City? That’s like a 10-bedroom apartment here in NW Louisiana. I feel no pity.

A summer house in Southampton that cost $4 million, again not the top of the market, carries annual mortgage payments of $240,000.

Here’s an amazing thought: give up your snooty little summer home.

Many top executives have cars and drivers. A chauffeur’s pay is between $75,000 and $125,000 a year, the higher end for former police officers who can double as bodyguards, said a limousine driver who spoke anonymously because he does not want to alienate his society customers.

The chauffeur/bodyguard is only going to make $125,000 a year? How are THEY going to survive in New York?

A personal trainer at $80 an hour three times a week comes to about $12,000 a year.

How about you MOTIVATE YOURSELF to run in Central Park several times a week, and do your push-ups in your bedroom? Moron.

The work in the gym pays off when one must don a formal gown for a charity gala. “Going to those parties,” said David Patrick Columbia, who is the editor of the New York Social Diary (, “a woman can spend $10,000 or $15,000 on a dress. If she goes to three or four of those a year, she’s not going to wear the same dress.”

Total cost for three gowns: about $35,000.

I can’t even find much to laugh about here. $15,000 for a dress?

How about, SKIP THE GALA and give that $35,000 directly to the charities without sitting around tables eating caviar (the price of which could ALSO be donated) with your hoity toity friends?

Nanny: $45,000.

IF the woman in the relationship is not also working, why doesn’t she change the kids’ diapers herself? $45,000 saved! I must be Dave Ramsey.

The total costs here, which do not include a lot of things, like kennels for the dog when the family is away, summer camp, spas and other grooming for the human members of the family, donations to charity, and frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity, are $790,750, which would require about a $1.6-million salary to compensate for taxes. Give or take a few score thousand of dollars.

Where to begin?

Out of curiosity, are those the same spas where AIG executives racked up a $440,000 bill immediately after receiving federal aid?

Does this money buy a chief executive stockholders might prize, a well-to-do man with a certain sureness of stride, something that might be lost if the executive were crowding onto the PATH train every morning at Journal Square, his newspaper splayed against the back of a stranger’s head?

If I were the stranger whose head was being “splayed against” by an ultra-rich jerk’s newspaper, I might punch him in his shiny teeth, so I can kind of see the point here.

“People inherently understand that if they are going to get ahead in whatever corporate culture they are involved in, they need to take on the appurtenances of what defines that culture,” she said. “So if you are in a culture where spending a lot of money is a sign of success, it’s like the same thing that goes back to high school peer pressure. It’s about fitting in.”

Ohhhhh, now I see the point. We want our banking executives to be on the same level as high schoolers.

How did I miss that?

ATTENTION: I’m all in favor of capitalism. If you study hard, work hard, and succeed, you should be rewarded. If you’re irresponsible with your company, approve limitless toxic mortgages, and generally drive your company into the ground, THEN IT SHOULD FAIL, and you should be out of a job.

If you plead for a government bail-out (which shouldn’t even be an option), then you should accept whatever conditions are laid out by the government, which just might include reining back your lavish lifestyle.

You might even have to settle for a $1,000 dress.

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4 thoughts on “New Yorkers: $500,000 (per year) Poverty

  1. Victoria says:

    And who’s paying for all this lavish living they want a bailout for?


    Personally, the thing I’m more upset about is that he wants to just hand money to all these organizations that helped him get in office that he claims he never was involved with…say, ACORN.

    • ryanaustindean says:

      The sad part is I don’t think there’s anything that can be done about it, even with the majority of the country being opposed to it.

  2. James Wilder says:

    Agreed. Captitalism supports individuals who contribute a tangible product – entrepreneurs, inventors, business owners, those who create jobs AND wealth – not looters who do nothing but sit in plush offices, collecting fat cat checks. If they weren’t FDIC and receiving government money I could careless how they spent their wealth, but we get to fund their opulent, plush irresponsibility.

  3. James Wilder says:

    correction: FDIC protects the consumer more than the banker, but my point was the government’s role in Central Banking, which means banking is not your typical run-of-the-mill private industry.

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