The Rich: Recession's Whiniest Victims

What with the nation struggling under soaring gas prices, foreclosures, and general tedious suffering, The New York Times' Sunday Styles section naturally wants to know how Manhattan's filthy rich are coping with the recession. "NANCY CHEMTOB, a divorce lawyer in Manhattan, has found that her days have become crammed seeing clients, all worried about how an economic downturn will affect their marriages.But Ms. Chemtob's clients are concerned all the same, she said, because their incomes have shrunk, say, to $2 million a year from $8 million, and they know that their 2008 bonus checks are likely to be much less impressive. One of her clients recently confessed that his net worth had decreased to $8 million from more than $20 million, and he thinks that his wife will leave him. He has hidden their fall in fortune by taking on debt to pay for her extravagant clothes and vacations."

"'I literally had to sit there and tell him that he had to tell his wife that she had to stop spending,' she said. 'He was actually scared she would leave him because their financial situation changed so drastically.'

"Interviews with the people who actually see the bank statements, like divorce lawyers and lenders, say their clients are definitely living on less than they did a year ago, regardless of how expansive the definition of 'less' may be. Hairstylists and private jet rental companies say the wealthy are cutting back on luxuries like $350 highlights and $10,000-an-hour jet rentals. Even nutritionists and personal trainers notice a problem. The wealthy are eating more and gaining weight because of the stress." [NYT]