In Wellsville things are great. Better than great, they’re selling a bunch of super rich stuff. I wish I lived there, in that America, or at least on the outskirts where I could visit once in a while, to taste basic financial security for a weekend. But I live in the other America, where you can also spend money! In fact you can rent all kinds of necessities and pay many times what they would cost if you could just afford to buy them. First a peek at how the well off are doing:
Sun Sentinel — Sales of mega yachts are turning the corner in the improving economy, according to some South Florida-based yacht sellers and builders. So far this year, there’s been a notable upswing in interest for new custom-built yachts of 80 feet or more in length and less price slashing on pre-owned boats of this caliber, industry specialists say.
Bloomberg — The ultimate golf vacation is available for $74,450, though there’s a wait on the first tee. The 2014 trip departs from Maui, tees off in Fiji and ends 22 days later at Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande, Spain. Covering five continents, it includes 12 rounds and transportation on a customized Boeing 757 jet. Kalos Golf, a luxury golf cruise specialist, sold out the 78 slots and has a 21-person waiting list. It’s an example of growing demand for ultraluxury travel amid rising numbers of wealthy people.
I probably have a PFO, that’s a treatable complication from heart surgery. It probably means more heart surgery. Which means if I’m lucky I’ll get a few weeks of disability bringing in a cool grand a month while my medical expenses explode. That’s if the disability doesn’t get shot down by the insurance company, if they don’t decide, “well, in retrospect you probably could have worked without keeling over for some of that time, and even though you didn’t know that when these weird symptoms started and the last time you had symptoms it was massive heart attack, we’re gonna screw ya cuz we can!’ Oh, and if I don’t get canned for missing too much work and lose my health insurance altogether. Leaving me broke and desperately needing follow up treatment.
So I’m probably not a good prospect for 80′ yachts and dream round-the-world golf vacas. But here’s a commodity I might qualify for, it’s aimed squarely at my America:
LA Times — When the tires on their Dodge Caravan had worn so thin that the steel belts were showing through, Don and Florence Cherry couldn’t afford to buy a new set. So they decided to rent instead.
The Rich Square, N.C., couple last September agreed to pay Rent-N-Roll $54.60 a month for 18 months in exchange for four basic Hankook tires. Over the life of the deal, that works out to $982, almost triple what the radials would have cost at Wal-Mart. “I know you have to pay a lot more this way,” said Florence Cherry, a 57-year-old nurse who drives the 15-year-old van when her husband, a Vietnam veteran, isn’t using it to get to his job as a prison guard. “But we didn’t really have a choice.”
I guess next time I need tires I’d be lucky to qualify for that deal, it would mean I still have a low paying job. I have lost 40 lbs, quit smoking, cut my cholesterol in half — simply do not eat much and when I do it’s all damn healthy stuff — after getting through a massive MI and a stent on 12 bucks an hour and reader contributions, leaving me near destitute. But ask the Austerians, those pragmatic deficit hawks almost all of whom are on the high end of the government dole and enjoying that sweet socialized medicine courtesy of John Q Taxpayer, and they’ll say millions like me, in the poor America, need to sacrifice more.
We don’t have much left. But one asset millions of us do still have, we’re fully insured on Social Security and Medicare, having paid in for decades at a living wage when times were better. That adds up to a ton of money, which is why the Austerians are hell bent on stealing that from us, too. Having most of it isn’t enough, they want it all, every last cent.