I Used To Be Rich
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Gifts for the person who HAD everything

“I used to be rich” is the phrase that is beginning to apply to all of us (even if we were rich only in our imaginations). This site devotes itself to discussion on the subject as well as inexpensive, quality, fun products that make “I used to be rich,” the brand that is catching fire!

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Who wears “I Used To Be Rich” Tee Shirts?

Who is wearing “I used to be rich” tee shirts? Glad you asked. Fact is, the answer is a surprise to us. Obviously we thought people who once had a comfortable amount of dough, but no longer do, were going to be the major buyers of these oh-so-adorable-funny-irreverent-silly-relatively-cheap-yet-high-quality-tees. It turns out they are, but they’re not the only ones. There are lots of college aged kids who are buying these tees – despite their demon college loans. We also have a great deal of customers who never were even remotely rich. They may be buying them to make others think that their present economic status is but a temporary set back due to some unwise investments with Bernie Madoff or they may be wearing it to stick it to those that have dough or they just may be wearing the soft, faded, sort of anti-brand brand because they like them, or they may be envisioning a time where after they make a ton of money they lose it all. We don’t know, but we like the fact that they are wearing them. In fact, the “I used to be rich” tees are cutting across all socio-economic demographics: rich, poor, old, young, smart (no dummies wear this shirt), in debt, out of debt, going into debt, republicans, democrats, socialists, anarchists, liberals, conservatives (it’s been rumored that Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, Rachel Maddow, and Michelle Obama have bought several dozen for their friends – actually I just made that up). What is true is that the shirt is being worn by a great cross section of people, who are running into other people wearing them as well. It’s like a club, a movement!!! If nothing else, maybe the wearing of these funny tees (we also have “I used to be rich” bobbleheads, mugs and golf balls) could add a little humor to the public discourse, and that discourse certainly could use a dose of humor.

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Catch 22

Here we are, dancing around a continued recession, global climate changes yielding heat when it should be cold, and cold when it should be warm – what’s up with that?

America is waiting for an answer of one sort or another…politicians don’t get it, mortgage bankers don’t get it, and frankly, I don’t get it.

Wear your I Used to be Rich tshirt with pride!

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Hey, send me a photo of someone wearing an I Used To Be Rich tee shirt and I’ll send you one free!

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Biggest paychecks on Wall St.

The financial world, after almost destroying the world the rest of us live in, was most generous to their own leaders in 2009. Why not buy any I Used to be Rich products – tee shirts, golf balls, bobbleheads, or coffee mugs and send it to one of these fat wallet fellows and respectfully, in return for your generosity, ask them to donate 50% of their big pay checks to people who need money to live, not to keep score with? As a role model to these morally challenged masters of the universe, Iusedtoberich.com will donate 50% OF ALL PROFITS OF “I USED TO BE RICH” PRODUCTS PURCHASED BEFORE 2/28/10 to the World Hunger Year (WHY).
To see the top salaries in 2009 check out the following Huffington Post article:
Their mug shots really belong in the post office.
PS We’ll donate the 50% even if you decide to keep the products for yourself.

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Conspicuous consumption is good for America!

You haven’t been affected by the recession. You may have even made a fortune shorting the damn thing. You still have plenty of dough. Lucky you. Now step up to the plate and do the right thing, the patriotic thing.

Spend, damn it, spend. Not a little mind you, but spend like a sailor on speed. Spend irresponsibly, tip extravagantly, flaunt it! Buy a pimped out Hummer (just keep it in the garage though, we don’t want you burning all that gas.) Buy a second home, a third one, a fifth one. Start combing your hair like Donald Trump. Buy Donald Trump! (Supposedly he’s going through his own money problems so you could probably pick him up cheap). Buy all the shoes at Henri Bendel. Eat at Masa every day for a year. Bail out California. Go from Tall lattes to Grande. Put another topping on your pizza. Spend, spend, spend.

I promise the less rich won’t be jealous. We’ll be grateful. We’ll look up to your extravagance. You’ll be our new heroes. The 21st Century’s version of Tom Joad. We know conspicuous consumption might seem a little silly nowadays, but we’ll make an exception in your case. Conspicuous consumption looks good on you.

Hoarding your cash is adding to the problem. And the last thing you want is for your kids to call you a capitalist hoarder. You uber rich can help us get out of this economic mire. You really can, so get going.

So spend baby, spend!

For a related article by Daniel Gross check out, http://www.slate.com/id/2182353/

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The meltdown and insomnia. Bedfellows for sure.

I haven’t seen a study on the subject, but I bet that the average amount of sleep people are getting since the meltdown last September has gone down dramatically. Now, the stock market may have made a nice move up lately, but how many of us have increased our own dream time? Worries about money lead to worries about all sorts of things and worry is the universal anti-Ambien. I have no suggestions to help my fellow insomniacs, but I did come across an interesting cartoon/commentary that at least made me laugh about my sleeplessness. I hope you get a smile out of it as well: http://bit.ly/rn80P

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Is retirement out of the question?

The financial safety nets in our country seem to be doing about as much good as the proverbial screen door in a submarine. Nearly 40% of Americans over the age of 62 have delayed their retirement because of the recession. Our retirement dreams are slowly fading away into the horizon like a bad movie, or worse, turning into nightmares we can’t wake up from.
For the typical American, only 45% of retirement income is funded by Social Security. That’s not not nearly enough to live comfortably on, let alone bankroll even the most modest dreams of what life would be after retirement.
Unless you’ve been fortunate to have socked away a lot of money, or have a decent pension (or, better yet, fabulously wealthy and generous offspring), retirement is not something you are looking forward to. That IRA you’ve been counting on is probably still circling the drain, even if you were conservative with it. A lot of us were not – a study found that nearly a quarter of Americans ages 56 to 64 had more than 90 percent of their 401(k) balances invested in stocks instead of bonds, against financial advisers’ standard advice for people nearing retirement age. That’s 90% that’s been unmercifully hammered.
So what the hell are we going to do but keep working, if we can, that is? Problem is the more of us that keep working the less job opportunities for others who need to find work. That means more unemployment, a longer recession, a more meager recovery and lousy retirement prospects. How’s that for a depressing mouthful?
It wouldn’t hurt to take a look at how some other countries are faring during this downturn. Especially how people at retirement age are doing. We still may be the smartest, richest country in the world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a little from looking around a bit – there are safety nets out there with a lot less holes in them than ours.
For a more detailed look at this problem, take a look at the following article: http://bit.ly/2XTwV

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The recession continues to slam the super rich

Well, a great deal of the super rich, the really, really rich are really, really not so rich any more. Seems like the recession has cut into their fortunes far more than they ever thought possible. And it looks like they’re not coming back in the near or far future. Doesn’t matter if you had tons of money or just ounces of it if you invested in the likes of Lehman Brothers bonds you are out of luck. The money is gone, for good.
Question is do the rest of us – the less than super rich – feel sorry for the once high flyers. Are they worth our empathy? Do we really care if someone who once had north of $100 million has only several million left? Good question – the answer to which is perhaps not as simple as one would think.
There’s a well done piece written by David Leonhardt and Gerald Fabrikant examining the plight to the uber rich. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/10GBoW

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Show us your empty pockets, America!

Joe Maloney of New Hampshire snapped the picture below in front of the Treasury building in Washingoton, DC. Thanks, Joe!

Could it be that, “I used to be rich,” is becoming a movement? A national urge to share the fact that we are all in this crappy, leaky economic boat together. A way to realize that we’re not alone, that we are more alike than different. This tee, this goofy, cute little tee shirt can be the very thing that brings us all together. The tee the nation has been looking for. The tee that ends loneliness. The tee that helps us become the people we always knew we could become. The tee that makes Rush Limbaugh shut the hell up!!!!

Being that virtually all of us have less than we once had, we’re all entitled to wear the I used to be rich tee shirt – the whole country! Every man, woman and child. Everyone! Well, maybe not Goldman Sachs.

I used to be rich fan sited in Washington, DC

I used to be rich fan sited in Washington, DC

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Healthcare reform and the duping of America…again.

“First of all,” Mr. Obama said, “nobody is talking about some government takeover of health care. I’m tired of hearing that. I have been as clear as I can be. Under the reform I’ve proposed, if you like your doctor, you keep your doctor; if you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan. These folks need to stop scaring everybody, you know?” It’s all falling on deaf ears.

Once again, the onslaught of advertising funded by the Republican Party, the insurance companies, the healthcare monoliths, and a slew of right-wing billionaires, not to mention biased press coming out of the likes of Fox (how unusual!), CNBC, and a pasty-faced, fat, dick-wad, drug addict crouching behind a radio microphone have scared the crap – not to mention common sense –  out of people. Once again, the people that need healthcare reform the most are deciding that any reforms would immediately turn the country into one big socialist gulag , even though they have no idea what that means.

Once again, the prospects of a reasonable, fair, less expensive, more efficient healthcare system are fading away as fast as our stock portfolios. Once again the country is being scammed, by the very same techniques used to sell fried chicken, and margarine and sub-prime mortgages. We are being duped, being made suckers of and being made to vote against our best interests. Once again we are going to fall farther behind the rest of the industrialized world in all sorts of minor things like life expectancy and infant mortality.

I understand Obama’s desire to keep the rhetoric down and to try to find the areas of possible compromise. He’s probably right to do so. But that doesn’t mean we have to follow that same path. As for me, I’m sick and tired of trying to reason with the throngs who are sure healthcare reform will bleed them and the country to death. Instead of using logic I am going to shorten my response to them. How about, ” Are you a freakin’ moron?” Nothing better than getting to the heart of the matter.

For a more articulate, less emotional version of the above check out, http://bit.ly/10GBoW.

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Portfolios And Healthcare, The New “Your Money or Your Life.”

As we watch our portfolios hopefully recover a bit (at least temporarily), we also can watch healthcare reform unravel. The insurance companies, and the congressmen they have in their pockets are relentlessly on the attack. “We must proceed carefully,” they say. “It’s unwise to move too fast.” Too fast! Are they nuts? We are decades behind the rest of the industrialized world in making good, responsible, affordable healthcare available to all.
But the critics are not nuts. They are calculating, and amoral and basically full of shit. Their goal is to do nothing. Doing nothing keeps the dough rolling in to their already stuffed coffers. Doing nothing won’t hurt them. Hell, find one critics of healthcare reform who doesn’t already have a great plan, themselves. Doing nothing weakens Obama and any further attempts he makes to fulfill the mandate he overwhelmingly was given in November.
I find it nauseating to listen to Jim Cramer and the rest of the financial hacks at CNBC (the other “fair and balanced” network) gleefully report that healthcare reform is dead, indicated by the strength of healthcare stocks. Same thing happened as a prelude to Clinton’s healthcare program going down, and they are counting on history repeating itself. 47 million people will remain uninsured yet they find reason to celebrate. After all, isn’t an increase in next quarter’s profits for the likes of United Health more important than an increase in infant mortality? And amazingly they are conning the American public. Once again, so many of us are being duped. I like to think we are smarter than that. Are we?
Paul Krugman spells it all out beautifully in a recent column, http://bit.ly/QufUi. Give it a read, just promise you won’t stick your head in the oven after you do.

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Reducing recession anxiety slice by slice

When I need to reduce my own recession worries my mind turns to food, most often, pizza. Speaking of which, there was a good article about new pizza places in New York City a couple of weeks ago in the NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/dining/08pizza.html?scp=6&sq=pizza&st=cse

Made me think, does a good slice of pizza taste better on days when the Dow is having an up day or a down day? Does it taste better when you have a ton of money in the bank or when you’re scraping bottom? Or does the enjoyment of a slice of pizza correlate with absolutely nothing other than that particular slice of pizza? Could it be that a slice of pizza turns out to be a major clue in our endless pursuit of happiness? (I love when I go on philosophical rants as if I knew what I was talking about.)

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Advertising campaign designed to reduce recession angst

Somebody has decided to do an advertising campaign aimed at decreasing the recession angst that has gripped the nation. Not a bad idea, I guess. If enough money is poured into the effort at least some billboard companies and ad agencies might hire back a few people they gave the boot to. Wouldn’t that be nice? Who knows? it took the spending in World War II to get us out of the Great Depression. Maybe this time we could skip the war and spend the bucks on massive world-wide advertising campaigns, instead.
Sure people will be bombarded with meaningless messages, but that’s a hell of a lot better than being bombarded with bombs.

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Bad times + old thinking = more bad times

I did a little Googling and came up with a couple of quotes about making the best out of bad times:

Our strength grows out of our weaknesses –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory -William Barclay

Granted, they may come off a little cliché,  but fact is, hard times often force us to think of new directions, new ideas. It certainly gives us the time (sometimes too much time) to analyze what we’ve done in the past. I know, for myself, starting iusedtoberich.com was something I probably never would have done had it not been for the economic tsunami that washed over all of us. It may not be the greatest idea – only time will tell – but it certainly was something very different for me. And if nothing else it has given me a brand new focus and even a touch of optimism – which is rare for me even during the best of times.

So what am I getting at? Well, it seems our esteemed lawmakers are hell bent in making sure no new thinking be put into action. Some of the very people who looked the other way when they saw the writing on the wall, in fact, some of the bastards who actually helped cause the mess we’re in, now want everything to go back the way it was – less regulation, dysfunctional healthcare, a neglected environment, etc. etc.

Einstein said doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results is insanity; in the case of our lawmakers it more likely is a case of sociopathology. All they care about, it seems, is themselves and their next election. This may sound all too simplistic, but what else can explain their inexplicable behavior?
Anyway, checkout this article by Paul Krugman on inexplicable behavior.

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We want your recession stories

Robert Frank, author of, “Richistan,” is writing a new book with the working title,  “From Riches to Rags”
He’s looking for high wealth investors with $5,000,000.00 or more of investable cash to tell their recession stories, good and bad.
iu2br.com is also looking for people to tell their stories. But we’re not setting any wealth parameters. What we want are stories about how you’re surviving during the recession. In other words, unless you’re one of the lucky few who escaped unscathed, we want to hear about how you’re living with less – no matter if it’s millions less or hundreds less or job(less) or sleep(less), or just plain less(less).
The point here – I guess it’s really the point of the site – is to bring home the fact that we’re going through this mess together; all in the same boat (albeit a crappy, crowded one). No better way to do that than to read about people who are like you even though their bank books, if they still have one, may look nothing alike.
So take a little time and write up your story and send it to us. It’ll be a cathartic experience for you and a “bonding” experience for those of us who read it.
Go ahead, you’ll feel better!

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Pizza, the economy and the meaning of life

Good article about new pizza joints in New York City today in the Times, made me think, does a good slice of pizza taste better on days when the Dow is having an up day or a down day? Does it taste better when you have a ton of money in the bank or when you’re scraping bottom? Or does the enjoyment of a slice of pizza correlate with absolutely nothing other than that particular slice of pizza? Could it be that a slice of pizza turns out to be a major clue in our endless pursuit of happiness? (I like when I wax philosophical, even if I am the only one who does).

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Post 4th post

July 4th has come and gone. Funny, this year I wanted to fly a flag in front of the house. Haven’t felt that way for a long, long time. I don’t know if it’s because of Obama  or the fact that I feel more a “part of the club” now – meaning the millions of us who are going through this meltdown together. What I do know is that I actually feel like a card-carrying  patriot, and that, to an old hippie feels strange but kinda good.

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on governors, rural states, and dead musicians

I was on the throne this morning, Times in hand, kids screaming in the background, and all I could think about was sarah palin. good thing the missus doesn’t read my rantings, I think Sarah is hot. Don’t get me wrong, she’s got snakes in her head, and I shudder at the remote possibility she could be the leader of the unfree world someday, but … there we were, and I read this: [NYTimes Article]  and then had a weird thought…what if…Sarah Palin is…having an affair…with…anita bryant. Okay, so maybe she died, but maybe Kenneth Lay *didn’t*, but what better a partner for a crazy former governor who quits her job midterm…

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July 4th in New York

We made a trip east for the holiday this year, a gathering of friends, a visit with the family, a treat of real bagels, and a reminder that the all is not well in Dodge City.

Three days on Lake George in upstate New York, a mere one hour of parking lot north of Saratoga Springs, still (evidently) the refuge of choice for real urbanites and others who are in denial or have no clue most of america either can’t get a mortgage or is scared shitless they’ll lose theirs. Still plenty of SUV’s guzzling fuel at $3.00+/gallon, no lightening up on the gas pedal, after all, 6 MPG or 8MPG, it’ll still cost a paycheck to get from Brooklyn to Lake George and back. So there we were, part of us tranplanted East Coasters, part West, some from Boston, most from Brooklyn, and a few without an identity or real home to speak of. (no, none of us are homeless, but several feeling rather displaced and disenfranchised from that which was familiar). Where am I going with this…oh yeah…

Recesssion or otherwise, job or not, the SUV’s are still rolling, and while the cocktail hours are less about getting hammered, most are NOT fighting over bar tabs with their buddies, their keeping to a single Bloody Mary, or maybe indulging in a second beer, or maybe, cutting back on the phatones’ before sundown. Who knows? We can’t recover if nobody spends, alas, there’s no recovery if you spend whatever it is that’s left before knowing where more will come from.

I never was rich, but I find keen affiliation with the may that THINK they were rich. I’m thinking, unlike anytime in MY life, that if we don’t start spending, there will be nothing worth buying, and nothing of value to exchange. So, go out and spend. Create a new economy on your own. Hire the kid next store to sweep your driveway (sweep, not wash, alas, the next crisis will be water).

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All products feature our recession-rattled, market-melted, wide-eyed little cartoon guy, who has the “magical” power to make us smile. And a little more smiling is just what the doctor ordered.