THE ECONTRARIAN

A tad askew from the traditional view

Thursday, November 24, 2005

HAPPY THANKSTAKING

Those that have the most to be thankful for today are undoubtedly the members of America's upper class. By fashioning a system under which they can "invest" tens of millions of dollars in our nation's politicians and reap benefits in the hundreds of billions of dollars, they have become the mother of all money vacuums. And they deserve additional credit for being able to accomplish this without letting more than a pittance trickle down to the middle and lower classes. In fact, there is more than a little evidence that the middle class is actually losing ground. The general situation is reminiscent of conditions that existed in Japan during the nineties, just prior to that country's descent into what has so far become a six-year spiral of deflation.

Coincidentally, on this day of thanks giving, the LA Times - perhaps unintentionally - reveals some of the economic consequences of the current situation in the United States. In a front page article on Las Vegas, the paper outlines the exorbitant demand for luxury items in that city, very likely a concentrated version of a national trend. The Times calls it the "Vegas Effect," and reports that "the city's relentless demand for luxury has contributed to a rise in prices for Kobe beef and palm trees, wiped out exclusive wine stock....," etc. etc. The Times goes on to say that the glittering shopping concourses of Vegas now contain so many exclusive boutiques that they are rivaling the appeal of the Rodeo Drive area of Beverly Hills; the Japanese style Kobe beef, considered a delicacy, is in short supply all over the United States; the price of date palms has escalated 50% in the past two years; and the demand for fine wines has "literally wiped out the finest Burgundy and Bordeaux, the finest of California, the finest of Italy, the finest of Australia and Spain..."

Also, in today's Business Section, the Times has a front page report on how the family members of the late Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, have ventured into the business of making expensive tequila aimed primarily at wealthy American consumers. The article reveals that the overall demand for super-premium tequilas is up nearly 22%, as opposed to an 8% decline for the inexpensive brands. Steve Wallace, owner of Wally's wine and spirits store in the Westwood section of Los Angeles is quoted as saying "I have sold 200 cases of Don Julio 1942 anejo at $129.99 a bottle and I can't keep it in stock." The paper says "Wallace plans to stock the Kahlo alongside the Don Julio and another offering: the $336-a-bottle Herradura Suprema."

And how is your Thanksgiving?

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home