One unexpected benefit of the worst economic depression in a century is that for the first time in history, poor people are happier than rich people. Experts claim this is because the lifestyle of poor people has barely changed with the economic downturn. They were below the poverty before, and they're below the poverty level now. But apparently, according to experts, many poor people are taking great comfort and the joy in the misery of the rich. In addition, they feel that President Obama actually wants to help them, a notable change from the last eight years in America.
Many rich people, on the other hand, have lost boats, airplanes, luxury automobiles, jet skis, two or three homes, and large portions of their wealth. Certainly many have been the victim of their own greed, but many have also been swindled, deceived and lied to. Just as poor people have been throughout the ages. And many rich people have never been poor, so they have no idea just how hard it is to be an American without money. Whereas most poor people, having been poor most of their lives, are very used to it.
Gerald (not his real name) is a doctor. He is in his mid-50s. He had a thriving practice. He lived in a beautiful home. He had enough money saved to live comfortably for the rest of his life. Or so he thought. Unfortunately for Gerald, he was friends with a very well thought of financial genius named Bernard Madoff. All his friends also knew Bernard Madoff. And they all trusted him to make them more money. In fact Gerald trusted him so much that he went out and mortgaged his house so he could give Madoff all his money. And now it's all gone. His house, his retirement, all his money.
"It's very depressing," said Gerald, "I worked so hard for so long to build my practice. So I could provide for my family, so I could retire and travel. And now it's all gone. Decades of hard work flushed down the toilet. I'm tired. I can't sleep. And I'm angry. Why is this villain, this crook, this Madoff, still living high on the hog, in his palace? He should be in jail. Getting shtupped by big angry criminals. I guess though, I've always known, in the end I have no one to blame but myself. And that makes me depressed."
Carla Crandall (her real name) is in her early 30s. She is a very talented writer who will be published for the first time this summer. She suffers from mental illness, and she is a recovering drug addict. She lives on a fixed income from Social Security because she is disabled, and lives in one of the nastiest neighborhoods in America. She's been depressed for years. Her income hasn't changed at all. She has no retirement. She has no home. She has no money to invest. She didn't lose one single penny during this catastrophic crash.
"Actually," said Carla, "I'm really excited that my work is finally going to be published. It's always been my dream to be a published author. I'm engaged to be married. But it's so hard to live in the ghetto, drugs shoved down your throat, screaming lunatics and junkies, you just know at any minute someone can stick a knife right between your ribs. It just wears you down. If Obama would only give me, like, maybe ten grand, I could get out of the ghetto, get a computer, get on the Internet. Doesn't seem like that much out of $800 billion, does it? But I have noticed you can get pants cheaper on the streets recently, so that's good."
Yes, it seems that everyone is suffering. But for once, the poor, the downtrodden, the huddled masses, the Carla Crandalls of the world, are suffering a little less than the rich people.
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