"Wall Street wives are finding that they must defer dreams and fancy things," the L.A. Times reported in a page one story on Saturday. One wife, who had been looking forward to her husband's retiring with "$10 to $12 million," told the Times she was "so angry" with the stock market meltdown, which was "not in her plan." The husband made $400,000 last year, "but there are no reports yet on what will happen to 2008 bonuses and options."
The same day a page one story in the New York Times reported on yard sales at foreclosed homes in working class neighborhoods in California: "three-year-old Marita Duarte's tricycle was sold by her mother, Beatriz, to a stranger for $3 - even as her daughter was riding it." The mother had lost her job as a floral designer two months ago, and now the house has been lost.
On Wall Street the average income is $365,000, according to the Times, "although top-flight managers typically make many millions more." Wall Street wives described to L.A. Times reporter Geraldine Baum "the pain of walking through malls and boutiques -how it hurts knowing they can't grab a few things for themselves that might catch their fancy."
Meanwhile in working class Manteca, California, south of Sacramento, another family was selling their kids' toys at another yard sale. Constantino Gonzalez's problem? He lost his construction job, Patricia Leigh Brown reported. "We need to eat," he told his kids about why their toys were being sold. "I can't cover the sun with my finger. So why lie?"
Back on Wall Street, one wife described "bitterly" the "lavish gifts" they had given to others - like the $5,000 diamond-and-platinum ring her husband had given his sister when she got married, along with a week at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. "I wish I had that money now," the wife told the Times.