Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wall Street Excess Is Back: Hiring A Dwarf For A Bachelor Party, $40,000 Cell Phones

Wall Street Excess Is Back: Hiring A Dwarf For A Bachelor Party, $40,000 Cell Phones

Wall Street bankers hiring a dwarf for an over-the-top bachelor party in Miami. Nieman Marcus selling out its 100 limited-edition $75,000 Camaros in three minutes. Socialites dropping $40,000 on a custom cellphone at a jewelry store in Chicago. An investment analyst at Goldman Sachs who hired hip-hop queen Lil' Kim to perform for 1,000 guests at his annual Halloween party last month.

Though the unemployment rate remains near 10 percent with millions of Americans about to run out of their jobless benefits, one in five Americans are using food stamps to buy groceries and small businesses are being forced to slash their work forces to stay alive, Wall Street's top bankers and wealthy investors are spending to excess, indulging their every whim.

Consumer spending amounts to more than two-thirds of the American economy, so this return to frivolity at the top is-- at least in theory--supposed to trickle down to less fortunate areas of life. But trickle down is one of those phrases that has yet to break out of the conceptual realm.

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