Some rich people don't hoard their cash or flaunt it as a status symbol so much as they use it as a dirty green cheat code. If life was a video game, they'd be the asshole kid with the turbo controller who can't ever lose. Meanwhile, the rest of us have to watch them have fun from the sidelines, vainly hoping we'll get a chance to touch the Super Nintendo before Mom comes to pick us up. ("Mom" in this case means the Grim Reaper, if that wasn't clear.)
Nowadays, excessive riches can get you more than bigger houses and hired help. People are using it to buy stuff that really shouldn't be buyable. Such as ...
Paying People To Go To Prison For Them (Or Purchasing A Nicer Cell)
Sometimes, no matter how much Rich Uncle Pennybags makes it rain in the courtroom, the judge simply won't budge, sentencing him to actual prison time and denying him his afternoon routine of sitting by the pool and being better than the lower 99 percent. Whatever to do? Well, should you find yourself in this situation whilst having obscene amounts of money, you could take a cue from the super-rich Chinese who hire others to do the time for them. Yes, that's a thing over there, and it's so common it even has its own name: ding zui. Which literally means "substitute criminal." They're like substitute teachers, only decently paid.
In 2009, professional rich kid Hu Bin killed a man while drag racing and got a whopping three-year sentence for it. However, during his sentencing, Chinese netizens noticed that there was something slightly different about him. Namely, his face:
So Chinese authorities can't tell Chinese people apart? That's pretty racist, guys.
It was never confirmed that Bin hired a body double, but in China, there's ample precedent for that sort of shenanigans. In one case, a man driving without a license hit and killed a motorcyclist, then gave some not-him a cool $8,000 to take the fall. There's also the demolition company owner who illegally destroyed a home; rather than pay for his mistake, he paid some drifter $31 a day to go to jail for him. Later, in 2012, well-connected businesswoman Gu Kailai was sentenced for murder, and what do you know, she came down with the spontaneous puffy-face disease.
Nicolas Cage was originally going to serve time as her, but he had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts.
Now, in the good ol' US of A, even the well-off probably can't get away with handing some hobo a few grand to stew in a cell in their stead. What they can do, however, is whip out their checkbook until their crappy prison arrangements magically transform into something much better, Cinderella-style. Called "pay to stay," these programs allow offenders to pay anywhere from $82 to $155 a day and serve hard time in a clean, quiet cell, furnished with typical Oz fare like fluffy pillows, warm blankets, private TVs, a refrigerator, private phones, fucking board games, and chairs not made out of cold, depressing, ass-shattering concrete. One guy paid $72,000 to serve his two-year sentence in such a harrowing hellhole.
Naturally, those in charge insist that there's no favoritism going on, but let's face it: They're playing checkers, reading their favorite books, not shivering in the cold of night, eating their meals in peace, and in at least one jail's case, THEY CAN OPEN THEIR CELL DOOR AND KEEP IT OPEN. Clearly, crime pays as long as the criminals do.
Getting Tax Breaks Via Charitable Donations ... To Themselves
It's shitty how the ultra-rich pay virtually no taxes, but at least when they lower their bill through stuff like charitable donations, it lessens the blow a bit. Sure, they're doing it knowing full well it'll save them another billion dollars come next April, but if it means fewer babies die of cancer, then deduct away, you princes and princesses of opulence.
The problem comes when the charity forgets to charity and exists to line the pockets of the Million-Dollar Douche running it. And then donating to it for the tax breaks. Everyone's favorite philanthropists, the Waltons of Walmart, have this scam down to an art form. Despite being among the richest people in the planet, the Waltons donate under 0.04 percent of their fortune to one charity: the Walmart Family Foundation. That's not pennies on the dollar -- that's a microscopic shaving of the corner of one penny to the dollar. They donated about $58 million over 23 years, but merely having the charity saves them $3 billion in taxes. Per year.
Pac-Man is very disappointed in them.
But that's not all -- the Waltons also utilize something called "Jackie O. Trusts," in which they put a bunch of money aside, with a certain amount going to charity each year. Whatever remains after 20-30 years goes to their beneficiary (i.e., other Waltons) tax-free. And since the IRS bafflingly only requires that a charity spend five percent of its money on making the world a better place, guess where the other 95 percent goes?
But hey, they donate some money, and if it goes to ALS research or whatever, then at least it's something, right? Yeah, they don't do that. Instead, they display paintings. Their Crystal Bridges Museum Of American Art shows off all the artwork Alice Walton has collected over the years, and ... that's it! A few hundredths of one percent of more money than Dr. Evil demanded in exchange for not destroying the world, and their big contribution is a room full of nice pictures.
Is it nice and enriching there? Probably, but we've yet to invent a method to stop homelessness by harnessing the smugness of rich museum visitors.
Hiring People To Take The SATs For Them
Oh shit, it's test time and you're not ready. Do you study harder? Do you let Jesus take the wheel and wildly guess at everything? Do you write smart-ass answers and try to go viral, like those funny Internet memes that totally aren't fabricated by cynical assholes who probably aren't allowed within 1,000 feet of a school in real life?
Judy lives on the same block as old people who can't Facebook, sassy responses to wrong-number texts, and conveniently wacky autocorrects.
If you considered any of those options, you must be poor and/or a sucker. If you weren't, you'd pay somebody big bucks to pass the test for you. Like what happened in Long Island back in 2011, when five students accepted money to pose as 15 far dumber students and take the SATs in their stead. They didn't pocket five or ten bucks a pop, either -- the bidding started at $500 and rose as high as $3,600. All so that kids with money could focus on beer funneling instead of Euclidean geometry.
"Why can't Americans be more honest, like me?"
This was an intricate business, too, with forged IDs, assumed identities, and students registering for the test at completely different schools so that no administrator could look at these hired pencils and go "Wait, weren't you a foot taller like a month ago? And what happened to your boobs?" Yes, boobs: One of these phony students posed as a woman and somehow got away with it. Wait ... was he also, like, 50 on top of everything? Because if so, the plot of the next Adam Sandler movie has officially leaked into reality. That or we're living in a Kids In The Hall sketch.
"At least Kevin James and Rob Schneider don't exist here."
It's not just Long Island, either -- where there's money and dumb kids, there's cheating. A popular Asian scheme involves companies hiring people to take the SATs in America, memorize the answers, and send them overseas. Then the companies will sell these answers to struggling students for what can accurately be described as "shitloads of bread." Or you can hire a ghost student to do everything for you. Like the 30-something who charges students up to $600 to do their homework while they focus on what's truly important (i.e., shaving precious seconds off their Super Mario speed run). His "proudest" moment? Charging some kid with Crohn's disease $150 to write him a beautiful college application essay about what it's like to live with Crohn's disease. Because writing's hard, but hitting the ATM is so, so easy.
Special Rich People Insurance That Protects Their Crap During A Disaster
When a huge disaster strikes, we're all equal. We all have to run in panic and abandon our possessions, whether we're gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor, etc. Unless you're, like, *super*rich. Then yeah, it does matter a lot.
Let's say a hurricane's on the way. Instead of getting caught in whatever clusterfuck the panicking little people have created, summon a service like Galaxy Aviation's HelpJet and escape in style. For a paltry $500 a year (plus $1,900 per flight), Galaxy will send a private plane to get you (and only you) out of harm's way immediately, like a more capitalistic Superman.
"Truth, justice, and we take American Express."
And when we said style, we meant it -- the HelpJet experience comes complete with five-star hotel reservations, a stretch limo to get you there, and fucking red carpets to greet your million-dollar ass. Because if you can't obnoxiously celebrate buying your way out of standing on a rooftop praying that the National Guard doesn't pass you by because the chopper's full, what can you celebrate?
But hey, what about your precious stuff? Not to worry; for the low, low price of way too much, high-end insurance companies like Chartis, Fireman's Fund, and the wonderfully-named Chubb will guarantee that the mean ol' wind doesn't cost you even one solid-gold statue of yourself. During Hurricane Katrina, for example, Chartis' customers had their homes protected by armed security, and their expensive artwork airlifted to a museum in Houston. Chartis stored the art there free of charge, because it's about time those poor bastards caught a break.
"Sorry, you'll have to store your Cezannes elsewhere."
Then there's fire -- such as those California wildfires that have turned the entire state into a crematorium. Luckily, the elite have an answer for that as well: their own fire departments. For a mere $10,000 a year, American International Group's Wildlife Protection Unit will send a private firefighting force to your property and cover everything you own in thick, milky, fire-retardant goop. Sure, your home will look like it's broken the world gangbang record, but the important thing is that all your Ferraris and Lamborghinis will keep on purring like overpriced kittens.
Finally, there's the biggest disaster of all: traffic jams. But over in Russia, rich people got that shit*conquered*. For around $200 per hour, they can hire a private taxi -- with luxurious limo-style seating, no less -- that disguises itself as a mild-mannered ambulance hauling ass to the hospital. Sirens blare, traffic moves, customer makes their destination in time, money wins yet again. It's kind of clever, in a "murdering our faith in humanity" kind of way.
It's amazing what leather seating and unlimited mimosa can do for a heart attack or gaping head wound.
And speaking of murder ...
Buying Organs Harvested From The Poor (Sometimes While They're Still Alive)
These rich people may have successfully cheated their way through life, but at least there's no way to cheat death by throwing money at it. Right? Actually, yeah, there kind of is. While other people spend years waiting patiently for kidneys, lungs, or whatever other organ they need to live, some wealthy folks prefer to take the "haha, fuck that" approach and buy the damn thing. Some cost as much as $150,000, but that hefty price tag does come with the peace of mind of knowing virtually none of it will go to the dirty peasant who is now minus one viscus.
What, you didn't think they were buying kidneys off their buddies, were you? No way -- donors in an organ ring are almost exclusively poor, foreign minorities who understand little of what's happening. And if they ever figure it out, then tough shit, basically. One victim testified that he got $25,000 for his kidney (an anomaly, as many donors earn much less), but balked upon realizing that the surgery wouldn't happen in New York City as promised, but rather in Minnesota. His protests over being unable to take post-op selfies with the Naked Cowboy were ignored, however, and he was wheeled in, anesthetized, and robbed of the kidney he now did not want to part with.
What body part is the Naked Cowboy supposed to sign when they meet now?
Other richers don't seek out poor donors. They don't need to -- their poor employees are already available and unable to say no. In countries like Brazil, plantation owners will bring their employees to the hospital, claiming that they're willingly giving up their organs because they just love their boss that damn much. That and if they don't, they get dumped in the middle of the Amazon with naught but an unsharpened stick for protection.
But hey, at least nobody's dying, right? Sure, except for the ones who are. In 2011, a Brazilian jury convicted three doctors of murder for declaring four patients legally brain-dead and removing all eight of their kidneys. Problem was, they weren't brain-dead, meaning these doctors stone-cold slaughtered them for their organs. The organs, by the way, had already been purchased for over $40,000, which is absolutely the worst possible way to prove to someone that their life has value.
"Dibs on the spleen."
"Dammit, Martha, you always get the spleen."
#richmotherfuckers #classwar #taxtherich