I don’t know if the New York Times publishes these stories to piss people off, if it’s secretly saying the subjects of these kinds of stories are the epitome of greedy capitalists or if it’s making a direct appeal to what it considers its core readership.
I do know that the Times circulation department used to have maps of the New York circulation area that graded neighborhoods by net wealth and would focus their subscription efforts on the regions with the most green.
The bus to camp
Anyway, here’s the latest. You decide:
A turboprop Pilatus PC-12 carrying Melissa Thomas, her daughter, her daughter’s friend and a pile of lacrosse equipment took off for their home in Connecticut, following the girls’ three-week stay at Camp All-Star in nearby Kents Hill, Me. Shortly after, a Cessna Citation Excel arrived, and a mother, a father and their 13-year-old daughter emerged carrying a pink sleeping bag and two large duffel bags, all headed to Camp Vega in Fayette. …
For decades, parents in the Northeast who sent their children to summer camp faced the same arduous logistics of traveling long distances to remote towns in Maine, New Hampshire and upstate New York to pick up their children or to attend parents’ visiting day.
Now, even as the economy limps along, more of the nation’s wealthier families are cutting out the car ride and chartering planes to fly to summer camps. One private jet broker, Todd Rome of Blue Star Jets, said his summer-camp business had jumped 30 percent over the last year.
So at a time of economic crisis, the rich are chartering jets to send their kids to summer camp? We’ve already been told they’re building their kids playhouses that go for $200,000.
Meanwhile, in my world, this is happening:
House Republicans delayed a vote on their bill to lift the debt ceiling as they scrambled Tuesday night to rewrite the measure to ensure that accompanying spending cuts were large enough, according to three senior GOP aides.
The vote, originally scheduled for Wednesday, could now happen Thursday or Friday.
When the GOP refers to spending cuts, that means getting rid of things that help the elderly, the sick and the poor. In effect, the Republican effort is designed to tax these groups. If government revenue isn’t used to help these people, they have to pay more to survive. It’s GOP social engineering at its cruelest. None of these spending cuts are going to have the slightest impact on people who buy their kids playmansions and charter jets to get them to camp.
And while the Republicans dither over addressing the soon to be surpassed debt ceiling, the rest of the world is watching to see if they’re crazy enough to drive that bus over the cliff:
In a speech in New York before the Council on Foreign Relations, meanwhile, Christine Lagarde, the new managing director of the IMF, urged American officials to demonstrate the kind of “political courage” she said was shown by European leaders last week in a summit that agreed on new financing for Greece and gave greater powers to a regional bailout fund.
“On the debt ceiling, the clock is ticking, and clearly the issue needs to be resolved immediately,” Lagarde said. “Indeed, an adverse fiscal shock in the United States could have serious spillovers on the rest of the world.” She said a default or downgrading of U.S. debt “would be a very, very, very serious event, not just for the United States but for the global economy at large.”
The Republicans put the debt ceiling argument in the terms of living within your means. Let’s look at it in terms of an individual’s credit rating. When you get an offer from a bank for a credit card at a zero interest rate, it seems like a great deal. But the second you miss a payment, the interest rate shoots up to an extraordinary amount. That’s today’s American banker, who is now charging rates that loan sharks used to go to jail for.
Naturally, when you have the money, you don’t screw around. You pay your bill. And in this whole argument, no sane person believes America doesn’t have enough money to pay its bills. But the tea baggers in Congress are acting like four year olds and saying “If you don’t do what we say, we’ll hold our breath until we pass out.” But their intention is to take the whole world down with them.
For some reason that I still find unfathomable, President Obama still believes in compromise and a “bipartisan solution.”
Paul Krugman says it best:
The cult that I see as reflecting a true moral failure is the cult of balance, of centrism.
Think about what’s happening right now. We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.
But who’s really to blame?
So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.
The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president. Once again, health reform — his only major change to government — was modeled on Republican plans, indeed plans coming from the Heritage Foundation. And everything else — including the wrongheaded emphasis on austerity in the face of high unemployment — is according to the conservative playbook.
What all this means is that there is no penalty for extremism; no way for most voters, who get their information on the fly rather than doing careful study of the issues, to understand what’s really going on.
I haven’t the slightest idea of how this is all going to end. I think the GOP will insist on a default. I hope something else will happen that will avoid a financial meltdown, for all our sakes, but as Krugman points out, Obama has met the demands of the fanatic right and they still aren’t satisfied.
In the meantime see if you can hitch a ride for your kid on one of these jets to summer camp. If you can afford to send your kid to summer camp.