HIGHTOWER: Protecting Wall Streeters From Us

Time for another peek into "The Lifestyles of the Rich ... and Cranky."Speculators and stock brokers on Wall Street had a very good year in 1997, with the top dogs at Goldman Sachs and other brokerage firms raking-in more than $25 million dollars each in bonus money. Things are so good for them that New York's poshest restaurants report that some of these high-rollers have been ordering bottles of wine for lunch that cost $10,000 a pop!Now, if you can toss-off 10 grand for a bottle of old grape juice, you must not have any reason to be cranky, right? Wrong! These rich guys are now insecure about their security. They've begun to realize that their lavish lifestyles come at the expense of America's workaday majority -- when workers get downsized, Wall Street's fees and stock prices skyrocket ... and the rich get fabulously richer. So, to guard themselves against the downsized masses, the Street's elites have been spending more of their ill-gotten gain on things like bodyguards, bulletproof limousines, kidnaping insurance and home security systems.Fine. But now, they want the public to help pay for their security. They've persuaded New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani to open a special police substation in their Wall Street district, with 200 officers assigned to them!Even though a group of influential Wall Street companies will finance a part of the new station's cost, the rest will come from ordinary taxpayers. But a bigger principal than tax money is raised here -- why should police protection be auctioned off to the highest bidder? After all, Wall Street is one of the safest areas in The Big Apple, and plenty of neighborhoods that are more dangerous, but less affluent, sure would like to have 200 cops allocated to their streets.This is Jim Hightower saying ... Hey Wall Streeters -- be careful ... you're not the only ones getting cranky.Source: "Wall St. Plans to Pay for a New Police Substation There" by David Kocieniewski. New York Times: Feb. 17, 1998.

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