Take a look at the newest cruise ship from Norwegian Cruise Line – the 4,200 passenger Escape. It’s a lot like setting sail on the Titanic, especially if you are super rich.
The Escape provides an envious benefit to the 275 most elite guests aboard – the ability to “escape” and sidestep the rest of the commoners on the boat. The ship is equipped with an exclusive location called The Haven that provides 24 hour butler service to the fortunate guests rich enough to pay for the privilege. These guests also have a golden key card that reserves the best seats for on-board entertainment and early disembarkment times for ports of call. The designer of the ship, Kevin Sheehan said their plan was to attract richer travelers. “That segment of the population wants to be surrounded by people with similar characteristics.” Which means they really don’t like you.
Norwegian isn’t alone in catering the the financial beneficiaries of our economic recovery:
- This summer Disney started selling uncrowded, after hours Theme Park access to their super rich clientele.
- Delta Air lines shuttles their richest customers around in Porsches at their Atlanta and New York hubs.
- Royal Caribbean equipped their Private Island Labadee with an extra-exclusive hideaway for their elite cruisers.
- Crystal Cruises will offer 14-28 day around-the-world airline “Cruises” aboard a custom Boeing 777.
- Even Chick-Fil-A has a secret, A-List invitation only program for its best customers.
Offering perq’s to your best clients isn’t new (even if the proliferation of these programs is). The Velvet Rope Economy is expanding rapidly as the rich seek new ways to act rich. Businesses are following the money and the top 5 percent have more disposable cash than the rest of us. This is actually very smart leadership on the part of these companies. It does speak poorly of the political enablers who created this epic economic distortion:
Which brings me back to politics. Republican and Democrat Elites have enjoyed a massive increase in their personal incomes and fortunes as a result of the Federal Reserve policies enacted by Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen. Their leadership along with our elected officials has fostered an economic ‘velvet rope divide”.
The populations lining up on either side of this divide are out of balance. When middle class members realize smaller and smaller rewards for their hard work it fosters an envious environment. How Ironic then that the middle class is turning to a presidential candidate, who made his fortune catering the the Velvet Rope Economy, to rescue them!