Less than one percent

News Item: A 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO racer has become the world’s most expensive car, selling for $52 million. The red competition car … was acquired by an unidentified buyer in a private transaction.

This is a Very Bad Thing, says Jack Baruth, for several reasons, one of which is aggravation of existing class warfare:

It’s hard to argue that there’s no “one percent” in this country or elsewhere when you consider that a) the real-world unemployment rate in America is at near-Great Depression levels and b) somebody just paid fifty-two million bucks for a car. We’ve entered a mirrored funhouse where returning Afghanistan veterans can’t find work and children are going hungry and real-world wages have been worse than stagnant for a decade and above us the Gilded Age party just keeps roaring louder. This sort of thing causes Black Bloc protestors to spring out of the ground and it lends potent ammunition to those who advocate for a forceful redistribution of wealth. It promotes class-warfare rhetoric and excuses extreme behavior and in the end it’s the small businessman with a used F355 who winds up taking the brunt of that resentment when some yahoo boots his store windows in during an “Occupy” protest.

Not that I’m particularly sympathetic to yahoos of any description, but I do have a certain instinct for self-preservation. The other day, I was doing some speculative calculations for the time when, barring catastrophe, I emerge from my current financial travails, and figured that I could, theoretically anyway, belt myself into a Mercedes. Not a big Benz, mind you — nothing over an E-Class, and possibly not even that — but still, there’d be a three-pointed star on its nose, another on its backside, and it suddenly occurred to me: do I want to spend forty-odd hours a week just off Treadmill Avenue, a thoroughfare not known for high levels of social amity, worrying if some drive-by dastard is going to suddenly vent a lifetime’s worth of resentfulness on my daily driver?

No way.

Unless, of course, I can find, or rig up, an anti-intrusion system that is guaranteed to waste the mofo while somehow not damaging the MB-Tex.


  1. Francis W. Porretto »

    6 October 2013 · 2:46 pm

    Envy-powered viciousness is a consideration to be reckoned with, no question. I’ve been on the receiving end. There’s usually no countermeasure, only a sort of defense-through-mobility: moving to a neighborhood where your car (and other possessions) rate as no better than average.

    But all that having been said, Jack Baruth and his faux-populism can kiss my bleeding Irish-American ass.

  2. McGehee »

    6 October 2013 · 4:51 pm

    I’ve never believed in paying a premium for a prestigious badge. I can certainly manage comfort and performance in a Ford or a Toyota. If I struck it rich-by-my-standards I might indulge myself by buying new, but that would mean paying twice as much as it’ll be worth as soon as it leaves the lot.

  3. McGehee »

    6 October 2013 · 4:54 pm

    However one becomes rich, one doesn’t stay rich by wasting it. And I am, after all, of Scottish descent.

  4. Tatyana »

    6 October 2013 · 6:44 pm

    All I learned from this thread is that Porretto, apparently, an Irish last name. Who would’ve thought!

  5. Charles Pergiel »

    7 October 2013 · 11:29 pm

    I am glad to hear someone paid $52 million for a car. Perhaps it went to someone who didn’t have $52 million, if so, wealth was being redistributed. I mean that is the primary purpose of rich people, isn’t it? To spend ridiculous amounts of money on stuff that no reasonable person would even want.

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