Former St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sports Editor Carries Class Warfare Pitchfork

Kevin Horrigan, former sports editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has moved over to writing commentary (What happened to that other guy, the former television critic they had manning their editorial desk? Who cares?) Today, Horrigan tells people that they’ve made too much money and have too big of homes:

The size of the average newly constructed home in the United States fell to 2,392 square feet in 2010. The Journal was writing about homes that are 10 to 20 times that size and feature amenities like shooting ranges, bowling lanes, saltwater “plunge pools” and — my personal favorite — the 15-bathroom (plus powder rooms) home being built in Connecticut for Lee Weinstein, founder of Xand, a data storage company.

Fifteen bathrooms? I’m not sure how much is enough, but I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere south of 15 bathrooms.

The people who are building these homes are folks like you and me, except they’ve inherited a billion dollars or they are Saudi princes or NFL quarterbacks married to supermodels or they’ve built tech companies. Their wealth permits them to dream big when it comes to dream houses.

Got that? They have too much. Claro!

Note how Horrigan characterizes these people: Sarcastically, he says they’re like you and me, but they’re:

  • they’ve inherited a billion dollars
  • they are Saudi princes
  • they’re NFL quarterbacks married to supermodels
  • they’ve built tech companies

Got that? They’re lucky or lucky or, just maybe, they’ve worked hard for their money.

Horrigan’s piece mentions the Wall Street Journal piece appearing last weekend, but it doesn’t link to it. Allow me. Now, let’s run down the list of people mentioned in the article and what they do:

  • Anthony Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune. The article also mentions that he founded a private equity firm.
     
  • Cliff Asness, hedge fund manager.
     
  • Lee Weinstein, founder of Xand, a tech company.
     
  • Melissa and Doug Bernstein, founders of an educational toy company.
     
  • Jim Ellis, founder of a cell phone insurance provider.
     
  • Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle.
     
  • Gene Pretti, manager of an investment firm.
     
  • An unnamed Dallas businessman.
     
  • Tom Brady and his wife.
     
  • Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud.
     
  • wife of Bruce Karsh, founder of Oaktree Capital Management.
     

That’s one heir, one quarterback, and one Saudi prince. And eight people identified by their occupations, of which three founded tech companies. The others founded other kinds of companies or worked in finance.

Maybe Horrigan just looked at the pictures, the five of which more closely aligned with his characterization.

You know, I’m getting to that age where I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be mega-wealthy, and this realization comes with some sadness on my part, too. But I don’t actively resent people who do succeed or people who inherit wealth or a better position in life than I did. I mean, really. Let them have their fun. And if I strike the lottery, I’ll join them briefly until I blow all my winnings and declare bankruptcy.

Sometimes I think this class warfare resentment is just a comfortable way to translate bitterness and disappointment into personal superiority. I’d say I don’t understand it, but I think I do. I just can’t tolerate it.

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