(Greenwich St, New York NY) The Ultra-rich (commonly known as "The 1% of the 1%"), are facing real challenges during the current world health crisis, despite having the financial means to seemingly overcome anything.
A country in peril. Its citizens on edge. An economy on the brink of collapse. Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, the first few months of 2020 have been tough to navigate with any sense of normalcy.
Nurses and other medical professionals with little or no personal protective gear risk their lives on a daily basis to care for dying patients in overcrowded hospitals. Elderly citizens are exiled to a life of solitude to avoid life-threatening exposure to the disease. Cities that have become hot spots for the disease have been forced to construct makeshift morgues out of tractor trailers, turn convention centers into field hospitals, and mourn thousands of patients who have died alone and in anonymity.
Nobody is immune to this pandemic’s wrath. Even the nation’s ultra rich have been forced to accept sacrifices they never thought were possible. We were able to sit with Arthur Plunderman, a New York City hedge fund manager, to learn about the compromises he has had to make to survive these troubling times.
Arthur spoke candidly: “We have learned to endure most challenges faced with this virus that, it seems, is circling the globe. Because of the risk of infection, I have reduced the service staff to a bare minimum in all of my homes. Believe me, it wasn’t easy figuring out which butlers, housekeepers, and gardeners to let go. This was complicated by the fact that I don’t know any of them, and have no idea if they are even here legally.”
“But the real challenge,” Arthur continued, “has been tolerating air travel in these unprecedented times. While the sacrifices I have been forced to make here on Terra Firma were tough, the ones I had to make when flying on my G7 (a Gulfstream private jet for average readers) have been borderline intolerable. We had to eliminate a few roles that are critical for maintaining my lifestyle when I am jetting to places like Aspen, Jackson Hole, or Sun Valley. Imagine these flights without a service captain, lead flight attendant, and second porter to help manage things! It is downright primitive, like I am flying on Spirit Airlines!” He was quick to correct, “Not that flying on Spirit Airlines is bad; one of my funds owns a big chunk of their stock, but you get what I mean!”
“And don’t get me started on not being able to fly internationally. Now that the exclusive ski resorts are all but closed due to the virus and the season ending, what am I supposed to do for the summer if I can’t get to Dubrovnik or Santorini for my summer vacation? Eat a corn dog on Coney Island? Even it is closed! This country is going to hell in a hand basket!”
We left the Plunderman compound filled with empathy, commiserating with his struggle in the same way we face our own challenges, like finding a single roll of toilet paper to wipe the shit from our ass-cheeks. Yes, the Coronavirus is the great equalizer!