$500 large per year — A modest proposalPosted: Monday, February 9, 2009 By The Icepick, age 36½
I see The Times, somewhat tongue in cheek, has shown how difficult it is to survive on $500,000 per year for bailed-out CEOs struggling to make ends meet on the island of Manhattan (h/t Gawker).
Private school: $32,000 a year per student.
Mortgage: $96,000 a year.
Co-op maintenance fee: $96,000 a year.
Nanny: $45,000 a year.
We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.
Tongue planted firmly in cheek or planted firmly elsewhere, this is a big concern of The Icepick’s for these souls, the hard-working citizens of Kriegel’s Hedge Fund Class. Though they have made Manhattan unaffordable for anyone else — which in turn pushed slightly-less-wealthy people out to Brooklyn, making that borough mainly unaffordable for any new residents who are not insufferable and/or a part of Gawker’s creative underclass living the four-to-an-apartment life and accumulating crushing debt — and keep pushing that out 75 miles or so east and north (I don’t know Jersey except from The Sopranos, and I would say you could go south, but you might be saying “eek, eek” to the oh-so-smarter-than-humans dolphins), adding a layer of entitlement for some when you go east and a dash of the superiority complex when you land immediately north of Yonkers and New Rochelle — add in the fact that New York state government came to rely on the taxes paid by these industriously wealthy Manhattanites and can’t function without their tribute, making life even in small failing upstate cities, like, oh, say, Albany, Rochester or Schenectady unaffordable in their own bizarre way — they have a lifestyle to-which-they-are-accustomed to maintain of ex-cop drivers/bodyguards, dresses for the Botoxed wife’s attendance at charity galas, and helicopters to avoid LIE/thruway/Northway traffic to get to their summer homes on the edge of Long Island and along the rapidly overdeveloped and deteriorating shoreline of Lake George.
This, of course, overlooks the various companies’ boards who will not needlessly suffer as harshly as the CEOs they grossly overpaid and failed to supervise, or the fact that despite the President’s best intentions, most CEOs will worm a loophole out of this new pay stipulation and avoid the ignominy of buying a MetroCard and riding the subway with the Great Unwashed.
Nevertheless, The Icepick is greatly concerned for the welfare and quality of life of whatever few, poor CEOs who manage to get docked down to $500 large per year. After all, the Times earlier quoted a compensation consultant caterwauling: “That is pretty draconian — $500,000 is not a lot of money, particularly if there is no bonus. … And you know these companies that are in trouble are not going to pay much of an annual dividend.”
Well, my initial thought was a modest proposal somewhat along the lines of Jonathan Swift, which would assuredly bring a kingly sum to carry the CEOs of child-rearing age through this summer in the Hamptons, or at least keep their mistresses in Prada or whatever for a while.
But, perhaps thinking that too harsh (and likely to contribute to declining enrollment in private schools, who would in turn probably hie their way to the altar of Washington, D.C., seeking their own bailout), I instead am somewhat inspired by this post on the behind-the-scenes legal wrangling involved in the forthcoming awesome-looking Watchmen movie, and am tempted to advise it as a suggestion for the well-heeled and classy class of bankers, CEOs and the like for whom $500,000 per annum is an unacceptably paltry, pitiable, and Dickensian sum on which to live.
Faced with such a compensatory crisis for the starving Captains of Industry, under whose far-sighted and proven leadership our economy no doubt will rebound (even if they need to buy and sell the children of everyone earning $499,999 and less to meet their salary demands and fix the country, in that order), The Icepick seeks all manner of advice from loyal readers (all two of you) on how to solve this, the great conundrum of These Times.