Jim Hightower: Buying more than a piece of the rock
One thing about the tea party Republicans in Congress is that they do know who butters their biscuits. Several have recently rushed forward with an anguished plea in defense of Wall Street barons, CEOs, and billionaires: Stop the vilification of wealthy people!
I’m concerned about those poor rich people too. Especially the very richest.
Did you know that the wealthiest one-hundredth-of-1-percenters rake in an average of $30 million every year?
Wow, how do they manage to spend those 30 big ones?
Their penthouse, Lamborghini, dinner every night at Masa, etc. still leaves some $20 million to play with. Luckily, The New York Times has answered this question for us commoners in an article headlined: Wealthiest Americans Go House-Hunting Abroad.
It seems that there are bargains to be had on old castles in the Irish countryside. So now, lots of super-rich Americans are buying a piece of the old sod for themselves.
Parisian townhouses and wine country chateaus are always in vogue, so why not have one? Or how about two?
But the big action for American swells is in the Caribbean, where a five-bedroom villa on St. Barts, for example, can sop up $14 million of your spare cash.
The article tells us, however, that the latest trend is not simply to buy a fabulous house overlooking the pink sand beaches of some resort island — but to buy your very own Caribbean island. What cachet.
One popular option is the Exuma Cays, a cluster of 360 islands in the Bahamas. For instance, there’s one 47-acre island with a 3,000-foot airstrip and seven white sand beaches that can be had for just over $15.5 million.
As an online dealer in private islands notes, buying one is not about the beauty of the place, but about the majestic image it bestows on the buyer.
“They want to be steward of their own little piece of the world,” he marveled.
Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.