BP's Tony Hayward has been yanked off spokesman duty after having the poor judgment to go yachting while the Gulf drowns in his company's oil. But according to the Annual World Wealth Report Hayward's not the only one yachting while the world burns. It's not just Brits, either. Sales of luxury boats were up 30% in the U.S. in the first quarter of the year. The ultra-rich, it seems, are getting their lives back. Lucky them.
The report, just released by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, notes that the number of wealthy people in the world has returned to the level before the banking crisis. 10 million people - thank you very much -- have more than $1 million to spare. Gains were highest in Asia and the Pacific, so you can still send some pity for the suffering British and European millionaires.
Suffering, of course, is relative: Tony Hayward is able to get his life back just by getting on a plane and taking off on his yacht. Other "high net worth individuals" shaken for a moment by the financial storm, almost immediately started to spend on what Merrill Lynch calls "investments of passion"-- you know -- art, private jets, yachts.
Back in the so-called small people's world, one Gulf Coast fisherman has a suggestion for the spare millions the ultra-rich have hanging around. "The first thing I'd like to do is punch that CEO in the mouth. That'd make me feel a little bit better, I guess," Dean Blanchard told the LA Times. "I think I'd give a million dollars for one punch."
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.