It really is the 1%’s world, isn’t it?
I truly believe that there are only a couple of things holding the lid on a society in which the majority of people have made little economic headway in, say, the last three decades.
Sure, we’ve all got more plastic-fantastic, electronic crap. But we have less financial security, less confidence in what tomorrow’s going to bring, and less of a clue where the jobs in our hollowed-out economy are going to come from.
So we should be thankful for the things that keep the whole shebang from boiling over.
First, there’s the prison-industrial complex, that a) gets to remove millions out of potential workers from the workforce (or unemployed-force) by keeping them behind bars, while at the same time b) provides millions of folks with prison guard jobs that are the only things available in their communities now that so many manufacturing jobs have gone south (figuratively; east literally). Can you say win-win?
Then there’s reality TV, that manages to offer some hope that folks with little by way of talent, intelligence, and capability - beyond a finely-honed skill at naked and shameless self-promotion - can become millionaires. Say, if Snooki and The Situation can strike it rich, our society (at least at its most paltry and cretinous level) remains the Land of Opportunity, if not exactly a meritocracy.
But most of all, there’s the lottery, where rich and poor alike, the pauper and the king, are all theoretically equal under the bouncing ball.
Of course, the rich man and the king don’t play the lottery, do they? After all, they’re too smart. They know the odds.
No, the lottery is for us poor folk in the 99%.
You pays your money and you takes your chances.
So what if the odds are kazillion to one?
Somebody’s got to win, and as often as not it seems to be the little guy: the cleaning later, the mail sorters at the Post Office, the fellow who just got laid off at the meat packing plant.
So what if we know deep down that that Powerball take is going to wreck their lives, that everyone’s going to hate them, that there’s never going to be enough to make everyone in their circle of greed happy. And that they’ll end up alone and miserable in their 20-room hacienda on the Inland Waterway, knowing that everyone that they didn’t count in on the winnings hopes they get eaten alive by an alligator.
If I won, happiness would reign supreme and the world would be a better place. After I accounted for my own modest share – just enough to keep me out of the poorhouse, or perhaps give me time off to channel one of the novels ratcheting around in my brain –and set up my own not-so-modest foundation, so I could be like John Beresford Tipton, merrily dispensing million dollar checks around the land.
But while I am not a toothless lunk-head Beverly Hillbilly who’s going to squander the cash on Ferraris and 20-room haciendas on the Inland Waterway, I do have to admit that I – like the toothless lunk-head – am a part of the 99.
Not so the posse who, a couple of days ago, came out from the woodwork – make that the highly polished, mahogany woodwork – to claim $254 million, the largest lottery jackpot in Connecticut state history.
The nouveau lottery winners – but hardly nouveau riche – are hedge fund managers.
I repeat: they’re hedge fund managers.
As if we need any more proof that the world is rigged….
The winners are with Belpointe Capital which, admittedly, is a pretty modest outfit by hedgie standards. With $82 million in assets, it’s actually well under the $104 million after-tax proceeds from the big lottery win.
The three winners, Belpointe co-founder Brandon Lacoff, Tim Davidson and Gregory Skidmore, bought a single $1 ticket at a Stamford gas station. They actually won in the Nov. 2 drawing but didn't come forward until yesterday. Skidmore is president and chief investment officer of the firm and Davidson a senior portfolio manager. (Source: FinAlternatives.)
Where is Ripley’s Believe It of Not when you need ‘em?
One thing we’re sure of, the rich get richer (and the poor get poorer).
Well, at least they’ll know what to do with it.
In the meantime, in between time, ain’t we got fun?