Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Homeless and the "Homely"

Details about this nation’s big, dirty secret of inequality seeps out in odd ways in the media.

Today, the ugly disparity oozed around the edges of a New York Times story about how developers of stratospherically high-priced New York City apartments and condos hire and fire sales reps at whim.

Poor dears.

The Times reporter barely acknowledges the real story within the story: the sales prices the ultra rich fork over to put lavish roofs over their less-than-humble heads.

According to the story, some folks with unseemly gobs of money pay as much as $35 million for these places. Some units have 6,000 square feet of space. What goes on in such expanses? How are they furnished? How many housekeepers does it take to maintain them? What are the taxes on them? What’s the write-off that the rest of us pick up? How often are they left vacant as owners jet from country estate to mountain chalet to pleasure yacht?

Turns out that to sell some of these urban indulgences in the recessionary market, prices have been “slashed.” That can mean that they go for “only” $10 million or so.

“Cheap” to the super rich is a price in the high seven digits. In the real world most of us live in, that kind of money could house dozens, perhaps hundreds.

Inequality, thy name is the scouring homeless on the streets and the super-rich “homely” dwelling in clouds of excess.

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