Bubil: Wealthy might just as well spend it here


My story a few days ago on the creative marketing methods being used to promote the sale of high-end real estate (“To sell a mansion,” Dec. 30) elicited the expected backlash against the wealthy among readers who took the time to comment online at HeraldTribune.com.

“The real story is about how millions of Floridians are hungry and without healthcare, while a few live in palaces like royalty, like Marie Antoinette, squandering the resources they’ve collected on foolish luxuries like the ones in the story,” wrote Bill Anderson, who distinguishes himself with well-stated posts on Facebook.

“We have a few people living here like kings and queens while millions live in abject poverty. We have created this only a few generations after we achieved a truly great egalitarian society in the 1950s. How quickly and dramatically have we fallen into a decadent society.”

Not wanting to debate the complex economics of the nation’s current distribution of wealth, or the realities of the 1950s, I responded that the wealthy do provide employment, through their building of mansions and their hiring of tradespeople and contractors and lawyers and landscapers and financial advisers and countless other people in the service industries.

Anderson replied, “This is the trickle-down/jobs-creators argument for the tax-and-regulation policy changes that have caused so many problems — an economic crash, the destruction of the middle class, and the creation of a new huge class of poor among them.

“However, it was good for the wealthiest, who got much wealthier — if that can be considered good for them, considering the camel and eye-of-the-needle lesson.”

For those who are a little rusty on their New Testament, Anderson is referring to Matthew 19:24. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Entering Sarasota is much easier, and I, for one, do not resent the rich man for it. Sarasota did not create income inequality; this is a national debate. All Sarasota did, starting with John Hamilton Gillespie and Owen Burns and continuing right on through the developers and leaders and home buyers of today, is create an appealing community, based on our natural resources (beach, bay, Gulf, land and weather).

America has rich people. I don’t envy them (living in a mansion appeals to me not in the least, although the views are nice) and I don’t resent them. I’ve interviewed many rich people, and they don’t seem much different from everyone else.

But as they have to live somewhere, I would rather it be here than in Naples or Palm Beach. All that money sloshing around the local economy seems like a good thing. If you want it to be sloshing around in different pants pockets, write your congressman.

Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: January 3, 2015
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.