5 Infuriating Luxuries Only Available To The Ultra-Rich
Mega-rich people have problems too. Like "Ugh, what do I do with all this money?" or "What was my third butler's name, again?" Fortunately, that first dilemma can always be solved by wasting said money in maddening (for the rest of us) ways. For example ...
Luxury Bunkers For The Apocalypse (Or Vacationing)
We already know that when the apocalypse finally happens, the coolest of the cool kids will be chillin' in New Zealand with Peter Thiel. But what about the rich who can't afford a spread in Middle-earth, or who simply prefer to ride out doomsday in the States? Are they supposed to endure the end of the world and the presence of ordinary people too?
Nope. Thanks to the Survival Condo Project, the wealthy won't have to die alongside the poors. Instead they'll ride out Armageddon in luxury bunkers full of rarefied, super-filtered air and every imaginable convenience, from a movie theater to (*gasp*) programmable bidets. If watching Paul Blart: Mall Cop for the 365th time with Kevin James isn't your thing, you can also chuckle at the deformed mutants on the surface through a live HD feed on your living room windows.
Located in a decommissioned missile silo somewhere outside Concordia, Kansas, the complex features 15 stories of doomsday swank. It's equipped with its own power system, hydroponic gardens, fish farm, rations, and "various firearms" for the special-forces-trained security team, in case zombies break in (or Mark Wahlberg gets too rowdy). While the nuclear holocaust wipes out the less fortunate, residents can visit the spa, library, gym, pool, video game arcade, golf simulator, and general store. You know, the essentials.
If you're ready to shell out between $1.5 million and $3 million for your very own survival condo, you're out of luck for now. The Kansas complex is sold out, but the developer has plans to pimp out other abandoned silos. Meanwhile, the existing survival condos aren't going to waste while their owners wait for the end of the world. They're being used for fun and unique family getaways! Several owners have already spent time in their (nuclear) winter homes, which turned out to be "better than Disney." Yeah, enjoy them before James and Wahlberg stink up the place.
Bulletproof, Air-Conditioned Tombs For Drug Lords
Leading a cartel is an incredibly lucrative profession, but what's the point of having all that money if you're dead by the time you're 30? You can't take it with you when you go, right? That might be true for normal people, but not for some of Mexico's dearly departed drug lords, who trying to do precisely that.
It's our duty to present to you yet another appalling development in the war on drugs: narco tombs. They probably cost twice as much as your house, and likely have better air conditioning. They definitely have more bulletproof glass. Some also have Jacuzzis, or even satellite TV, because being dead is no excuse for missing your team's latest soccer match (don't worry, we're pretty sure they air soccer all day in Hell).
One could argue that the tombs provide a comfortable place for mourners to visit their loved ones, or that families are building increasingly lavish crypts out of love for the departed. Apparently bringing flowers to put on a gravestone just doesn't cut the mustard in narco culture. Maybe a better use for such funds would be a donation to Narcotics Anonymous? That way you're hurting the competitions' profit.
You Can Pay Half A Million To Get A Green Card Faster
If you're one of the more than 50,000 immigrants currently detained by ICE or stuck in another country waiting years for your case to be addressed, good news: You can buy your way through the painstaking process of becoming a legal permanent resident for a mere $500,000! It's technically called an EB-5 visa, and less technically known as the EZ Pass to the American Dream, or the "greenbacks for green cards" program.
Aimed at attracting the "good" (read: filthy rich) kind of immigrant, those using the program must promise to sink at least $500,000 into a U.S.-based development project in an area with high unemployment. Then they're supposed to show that their investment has generated new full-time jobs, but they can just ... not do that, apparently. A 2016 audit showed that some 26% of those who entered through this program never completed the process to show how their money was spent. According to a 2015 study, by far, most EB-5 investors are wealthy business owners from China, who use the program as a means of "acquiring a U.S. green card on behalf of their young adult children." It's the new must-have graduation gift.
To be fair, the EB-5 program was helpful during the 2008-2012 recession, when banks were reluctant to finance construction loans. But since the $500,000 mark has been the worthiness barometer for almost 30 years now, inflation has made that number an increasingly funny joke. That's chump change for these people. The USCIS proposed raising the minimum investment amount to $1.35 million ... back in 2017. Apparently, another proposal called "Nah, don't change anything" paid to cut ahead in the line.
Private Firefighters For Rich Homes, And Rich Homes Only
We expect wealthy people to have nicer homes, nicer cars, and nicer lives in general, but when it comes to things like public utilities and access to first responders, it's assumed that everyone gets the same basic service. Like, if your house is on fire, firefighters don't ask how much your crib is worth before they show up to put out the blaze ... right?
Well, in California, the state that's perpetually on fire, that's actually not exactly the case. "Private firefighters" are a real thing, and rich people (and rich people's insurance companies) hire them to protect expensive homes only. So-called "Wildfire Defense Services" are dispatched like a group of sellswords to protect specific properties. As in, those whose owners can afford to pay for help. We're not certain how the job description for a private firefighter reads, but we can only assume it includes "Keep driving past all the other burning structures" and "Turn off your moral compass."
Just who's receiving this service? According to NBC, 42% of them are on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list, so this is primarily for the "haves" and the "have yachts." Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are satisfied clients. Meanwhile, most of the 85 victims of the 2018 Camp Fire were elderly or disabled people who were stuck in their homes, unable to walk, drive, or do anything to save themselves. What if the manpower that went into saving the Kimye residence went into saving lives? Somehow we've ended up in a dystopia where a bunch of fancy pool tables can be more important than actual human beings, and we don't even get to wear cool futuristic suits.
Buying (And Burying) Art For Tax Purposes
Most people are under the impression that art is made to be seen and enjoyed. But the rich have come up a better use for it: saving millions exploiting tax loopholes. Unfortunately for art, the "seen" part often gets dropped as part of this deal.
Rich people are buying artwork or other antiquities and shipping them to "free ports" in countries like Switzerland, where they're put into storage and forgotten, like that lonely fidget spinner hidden deep in your drawer. We're not talking about wealthy art lovers buying pieces to show off in their homes; these are investors buying art for its dollar value only and immediately locking it away. What sort of masterpieces are being consigned to this void? An estimated 1,000 works by Picasso. Priceless Roman antiquities. Paintings by Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Warhol. There are literally millions of pieces of the world's finest art sitting in storage, being enjoyed by no one but the rats and the occasional wandering ghost.
Aside from the moral injustice of locking away such art and history, this whole system raises questions of legality as well. In 2014, police found 45 crates of antiquities looted from burial sites, including rare Etruscan sarcophagi (those cops are now mega-cursed). In 2016, Swiss authorities recovered artifacts looted from Palmyra, probably by ISIS, stashed away in a Geneva facility. Because free ports are basically glorified storage lockers for the rich, it's difficult if not impossible to say exactly what treasures are hiding in them at any given point. Like, what if all the missing dicks from every Greek statue are sitting in a crate somewhere? We may never know.
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