Here’s an incredible story that a friend of mine told me. In Las Vegas, his next door neighbor is a Hong Kong billionaire who has owned his mansion there for 13 years. The mansion is worth around $6 million.
It has about $250,000 worth of furnishings… beautiful. Every room is furnished to the hilt… and a $150,000 AMG Mercedes is in the garage.
Even funnier is that every week a pool cleaner comes. Every week, a gardener comes. Every month, a maid service comes. Every month, a pigeon company cleans pigeon poop off of the roof. A limo from MGM comes once a month to collect mail (he’s a High Roller there).
Yet, in 13 years, no one has EVER slept in the mansion.
My friend says the billionaire is “good for the economy.” I say, what a waste. It is a form of conspicuous consumption by the leisure class, as Veblen called it in his classic work.
This image of wealth is terrible for capitalism at a time when millions — even billions — of people are struggling in this world to survive.
I wonder how many other nice homes are left empty in Las Vegas and around the country… homes that could be rented out to needy families.
This kind of story is what leads to resentment and calls for punitive taxes on the rich. The rich need to wake up and start promoting good causes with their money rather than let it sit idly in empty mansions in Las Vegas.
In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter article from last week about why fearmongers about global warming leave me cold. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below.