Destroyed homes from hurricane Sandy

Death, destruction and Mother Nature can prove the ultimate equalizers of those on the high and low ends of the socio-economic totem pole, as Hurricane Sandy so definitively showed. No matter where they stood before the storm, its victims afterward had many of the same needs: food, shelter and flushable toilets.

Some "necessities," though, are of a more sophisticated nature.

"I had to go to the wine cellar and find a good bottle of wine and drink it before it goes bad," Murry Stegelmann, a founder of investment-management firm Kilimanjaro Advisors LLC, wrote in an email quoted by Bloomberg News after he lost power at his Darien, Conn., abode on Monday evening.

He ended up choosing a 2005 Chateau Margaux, which retails for about a thousand bucks. After all -- and for shame! -- there's no government program to install back-up generators in private wine cellars.

Meanwhile, a number of jokes circulating on Facebook suggested that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney had offered to help those whose second or third homes had been damaged by the storm.

Certainly, there's much room for mockery of the hardships the wealthy have had to endure since the storm hit -- way too much humidity in the humidors where they store their Cohibas, the tragedy of water damage to their fine art collections, and poor Mr. Stegelmann, compelled to drink his grand-a-bottle vintages. But the storm that slid like a knife through the East Coast also cut through to a deeper truth, underscoring the wide economic disparities in Manhattan and beyond, according to David Rohde at Reuters in his article "The Hideous Inequality Exposed by Hurricane Sandy."

"Those with a car could flee," Rohde wrote. "Those with wealth could move into a hotel. Those with steady jobs could decline to come into work. But the city's cooks, doormen, maintenance men, taxi drivers and maids left their loved ones at home."
Rohde cites Census data quoted in The New York Times, which shows that the median income for the poorest fifth of New York City's population was $8,844, down $463 from 2010, while the richest fifth had a median income of $223,285 -- and had risen $1,919 since 2010. That overall wealth disparity, the Times article notes, rivals the gaps between rich and poor in sub-Saharan Africa.

One massive storm, yes. But it made landfall in two very different worlds. Something to think about as you uncork another bottle of whatever you're drinking.

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I TOTALLY agree about people living off the government tit and it pisses me off. However, stop being delusional. Many of the Rich got that way from inheritances. Look at the Kennedy family...made their money bootlegging. How is THAT hard work? Look at Hollywood...because Ashton Kutcher and Brad Pitt work sooooo hard on the set with their assistants wiping their ass, etc. Sorry, I worked hard in many fields including a new one(and I have 3 jobs) and I will NEVER ever make 100K. So should I be told "too bad, enjoy being poor?" Should I have just become a doctor, lawyer, investment broker and be miserable but have thousands of dollars? Their is a class warfare. I'm glad the rich lost their homes in Sandy and NO I don't think everyone should make the same amount. But how about leveling the playing field by NOT giving millionaires tax cuts.

November 02 2012 at 9:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Once they do away with the wealthy, where will the career poor entitlement class get their perks from???

November 02 2012 at 7:24 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The rich have less children and know how to manage their money. As for the poor, they live irresponsible lives and keep overbreeding more poor in an endless cycle. So stop putting down the rich for taking care of themselves and their families and not being a burden on the Taxpayers.

November 02 2012 at 7:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Those who drink thousand dollar bottles of wine after Sandy's wrath are the ones we want to read their obituaries in short order. In other words.... death to bottom-feeders.

November 02 2012 at 7:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mebecarl's comment

Seems to me if I had a $1000 bottle of wine that would spoil, I'd drink it before it did. Now,if I had 2 $1000 bottles of wine, I'd sell one, buy a generator and be able to keep the second one as an investment. Unfortunately, your post seems to confuse the "bottom feeders" and what I would consider the "top feeders" (after all, how many $1000 bottles of wine do you have at risk?) Get off you "hate" posts and get real!

November 02 2012 at 10:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only good thing to come out of Hurricane Sandy may be the jobs it will provide to rebuild NYC. Too many people nowadays think a college education is what is important and people will now realize that a plumber, a carpenter, even a manual laborer to remove debris have value. Sandy will provide jobs now that do not require a masters degree.

November 02 2012 at 6:58 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jacksjill's comment

The biggest problem of unemployment is that the unemployed will not consider moving to where the need is, or looking at different options. There is work available in many areas of the U.S., just not a lot of people who want to move to gain the jobs. IF you have good mechanical skills, a clean record/drivers licence and actually want to work, there are a lot of places out there hiring.

November 02 2012 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wealth inequality is a contrived issue. We Americans examined the claims of Occupy and walked away.
Which is why the Movement is today nothing more than a website where posters all agree with one another.

November 02 2012 at 6:53 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

more class warfare fuel. will it ever end? i suspect not -- but maybe it will if this country gets back to
a self respecting mind set.

November 02 2012 at 6:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Wealth Inequality? Some people are winners and some people are losers. So What?

November 02 2012 at 5:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Obama has put a lot of regulations on small business owners to keep them down, but you don't hear these rich facebook owners and workers talking about that. Where is Obama during all this? Probably in the white house kitchen eating up all the hamburgers and pastries before Michelle holler at him.

November 02 2012 at 5:03 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Nurses, teachers, police, firemen, EMT rescue squads all work very hard, but unfortunately, society does not appreciate them until a disaster happens then you are left wondering why their income does not go up like the hedge fund managers, etc. And the inequality between rich and poor has increased in the US. It is because the tax laws has helped the rich to get richer. I am for working hard, getting rich but not always at the expense of the rest of society.

November 02 2012 at 4:31 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply