A Very Interesting Analogy...
Steins takes a breath. Life in this $2.5 million house was built on the premise of two incomes, not the income of a divorced mother of three in a tanked economy. Her property taxes are $35,000 a year, the nanny is $40,000 and the gardener is $500 a month.
Laura Steins doesn't mind saying that she is barely squeaking by on $300,000 a year. She lives in a place where the boom years of Wall Street pushed the standard of living to astonishing heights. Where fifth-graders shop at a store called Lester's that sells $114 tween-size True Religion jeans. Where a cup of fresh spinach and carrot juice called the Iron Maiden costs $7.95.
The nanny and property taxes take $75,000 right off the top, but Steins considers both non-negotiable facts of her life and not discretionary.
The Washington Post has a very interesting story about a family who is having trouble maintaining a very high standard of living even though the income is about $300K per year.
Most will read the story and ask why does this woman need a home with $35K property taxes, a nanny, and a gardner? Many would wonder what a burden it would be to have a spouse with this kind of spending habits? ....and in the end, feel relieved that thankful this is not their spouse or their life.
STOP RIGHT THERE!
As citizens of the United States, we live an unparalled standard of living. A standard of living in large part because our government spent incredible amounts of money based on ever growing tax receipts from a private economy. It spent incredible amounts protecting us, employings us, and providing an unparalled social safety net. A standard of living that benefitted all of us collectively as citizens of the United States.
But just like the family above, now that our nation's income has dropped, few of us want to change our standard of living. Somehow we think the money will simply grow on trees. In the past ten years, it grew because of the issuance of excessive debt driving unprecedented growth and unprecedented incomes. Now the bankers our cutting us off and sales and incomes are evaporating.
Soon we will have to make a choice, maintain our standard of living and go bankrupt, or restructure and move forward. Either one is simply a choice, and right now it appears that the choice is to keep spending money we don't have....trillions upon trillions of dollars we don't have.