If you want evidence that the one percent exists on a different level than the rest of us, look no further than billionaire (that’s Billion, with a B) Jeff Greene, who, not long after his family’s two nannies stepped off of his private jet, said that Americans need to “have less things,” Bloomberg is reporting.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the self-made billionaire expressed concern about American’s lifestyle expectations amid worldwide economic unrest. He also believes that an unprecedented jobs crisis is coming.
“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”
The World Economic Forum, held annually in the mountain city of Davos, Switzerland, is an unofficial gathering of international power brokers to meet and discuss the world’s problems. Everybody who is anybody attends, according to USA Today: monarchs, CEO’s, heads-of-state, billionaires, tech moguls, Nobel Prize-winners.
This year’s theme is “The New Global Context,” and attendees plan to discuss climate change and fossil fuels (those same attendees who flew in on gas-guzzling, polluting private jets), food security (while billionaires nosh on caviar and lobster tails prepared by personal chefs), and the like.
One of those billionaires is Florida’s own Jeff Greene. According to Forbes, he’s a self-made man who worked his way through business school doing odd jobs, including a stint as a bouncer. The 60-year-old made most of his fortune in Florida real estate, which is amazing considering that Florida was one of the states hardest hit by the sub-prime lending crisis, according to Bloomberg.
Regardless of his personal fortune, Greene is pessimistic about the future of the U.S. economy and believes Americans need to start downgrading their lifestyles sooner rather than later.
“I’m remarkably long for my level of pessimism. Our economy is in deep trouble. We need to be honest with ourselves. We’ve had a realistic level of job destruction, and those jobs aren’t coming back.”
Greene plans to hold his own conference later this year in West Palm Beach, entitled — and the best joke writer couldn’t make this up — “Closing the Gap.” Details on what is meant by “Closing the Gap” are scarce as of this post, but for Vanity Fair writer Kia Makarechi, if it’s going to be about income inequality, the irony is just too rich for words.
“One suspects ‘the gap’ in question is not the gulf between Greene’s prescribed standard of living for millions of hardworking Americans, and the ones he enjoys himself.”
Do you believe a billionaire who shuttles his nannies about on private jets is right to criticize Americans for their extravagant lifestyles? Sound off in the comments below.