Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Rich Man


Happened last year, about this time. I had the opportunity to spend the day with a super rich guy, a mega-millionaire, who had me over to one of his houses. It's a long story.

Anyway, while there, he told me that the US was just a lap or two from a horrific economic collapse, something inevitable, he said. Because we were, he had already taken all sorts of precautions to protect his war chest.

First, he said, he moved the bulk of his massive portfolio overseas; after all, Wall Street was about to take a beating. Second, he told me he squirreled a ton of loot away (enough to keep his businesses afloat) in his mattress, so to speak. Third, he claimed he'd invested tons of what he had left in what he called "junk metal," gold and silver.

He was nice about it--thoughtful, even considerate. He was simply passing along inside info he knew, suggesting that, if I hadn't already, I too should quickly do the same with my millions, most of which would be lying around as vulnerably otherwise as his had been. I nodded.

That was February, a month after Obama had surprisingly won in Iowa, long before anyone ever whispered anything to me about economic collapse, long before bail-outs and toxic investments and shovel-ready infrastructure projects. It's possible that my rich friend was believing we'd have a Democratic President--after all, Bush wasn't exactly soaring in popularity a year ago. Maybe that's what he smelled just up the block--I don't know. But somehow the rich guy knew we'd soon be, economically speaking, in the slough of despond. Not only did he know, he acted. His bucks were elsewhere already, working for him, not for anyone else.

That's why I don't have a whole lot of sympathy or patience for Republic braying these days, why my receptivity for "free market principles" works about as well as analog tv transmission. The rich guy knew what was coming. It wasn't fortuitous that he acted; it was, on his part, prudent.

I've got nothing against him for making millions (his is a pure American rags-to-riches saga), nor for being bright enough to know how to stay afloat in the perfect storm he saw coming, even though it was months from any horizon. But he knew, and he acted.

Good for him.

Today that guy doesn't need anybody's help. He'll weather the storm. His millions won't get away. He's still got eight houses and sixteen Harleys. He'll do okay. Bully for him.

He doesn't need a break.

Millions of others do.

2 comments:

RickNiekLikeBikes said...

The free market has done you a lot of good too. Life isn't always so one-sided unless you only hear what you want to hear.

LisaZ said...

Yeah, and they're blaming the "cash-strapped consumer" for this economic collapse!!! For my part, I knew it was coming too. But it wasn't my 400 bucks I was worried about. I've been reading about peak oil and "life after the oil crash" for about a year now online. Also, James Howard Kunstler's book _The Long Emergency_ does a good job of explaining both the oil problem and the Ponzi scheme economy we've had going for a while now.

Interesting you heard it from a rich guy...