On the front page of my local newswipe this morning, below the dismal economic news, the tainted turkey news, the Mubarak-in-a-cage news, the bug news, and the weather (cold and wet; this section of California has obviously moved several hundred miles north in the last few years of so-called "climate change") there was a reprinted story from the New York Times, that bastion of the Little People, headlined:
Isn't that special, though. Good to know that somebody's responsible enough to keep the Demand Economy afloat.
The luxury category has posted 10 consecutive months of sales increases compared with the year earlier, even as overall consumer spending on categories like furniture and electronics has been tepid, according to the research service MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. In July, the luxury segment had an 11.6 percent increase, the biggest monthly gain in more than a year.
What changed? Mostly, the stock market, retailers and analysts said, as well as a good bit of shopping psychology. Even with the sharp drop in stocks over the last week, the Dow Jones is up about 80 percent from its low in March 2009. And with the overall economy nowhere near its recession lows, buying nice, expensive things is back in vogue for people who can afford it.
But then, is it ever out of vogue? Certainly not. Remember all the luxury-filled movies from the '30's? No matter how bad things got for the ordinary sod, the movies showed you the Other Side of Suffering, where even the rich people's dogs lived better than you did, and they all talked so very fast, and they were jolly and charming and funny as could be.
And get this:
While the free spending of the affluent may not be of much comfort to people who are out of jobs or out of cash, the rich may contribute disproportionately to the overall economic recovery.
“This group is key because the top 5 percent of income earners accounts for about one-third of spending, and the top 20 percent accounts for close to 60 percent of spending,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “That was key to why we suffered such a bad recession — their spending fell very sharply.”
Now doesn't that make you feel better? If it weren't for the rich spending on Prada, you, you poor devil, wouldn't have anything. The statistics prove it! Ha! The top 20% make up fully 60% of consumption. No wonder nothing is being done to help the working and middle class, or to put anyone out of a job back to work. What's the point of it, when they still wouldn't have enough money to spend on $2,800 David Yurman pavé rings?
The lower eighty percent are obviously nothing but parasites. They're lucky to have anything at all.
As for all that bling-bling, here's a Catherine Tate gag with the Queen at the Royal Variety Show some years back. "Are you disrespecting me?"
And for those of us in a "Tumbrils and Guillotines" frame of mind, this little piece from last year by James Howard Kunstler should help get the Rage on: