Thursday, July 04, 2019


A New York Times economics writer named Nelson D. Schwartz has been writing for the past several years about what he calls "the velvet rope economy."
... I’ve come to realize the real story in the American economy today is the velvet rope itself.

Sometimes, it’s a metaphor, as in the case of ... the butler-like Royal Genies on Royal Caribbean cruise ships who research your favorite scotch or vodka and have it ready before you board.

In other cases, the rope is literal: airport security, for instance, where first-class passengers speed through while everyone else snakes around in long queues. At many amusement parks, visitors can spend an extra $100 to cut the line and spare themselves the wait for the most popular rides.

... the phenomenon has even extended to health care. A new breed of ultra-elite concierge doctors has sprung up in recent years, transforming medicine for the small sliver of patients wealthy enough to afford their care. Appointments with specialists that might otherwise take months to secure can be arranged in a day with a single call.
We're used to this in America's civic life: Politician pay attention to wealthy donors, not to ordinary citizens. But there are limits -- or there have been until the Trump presidency. What the president is doing today is creating a velvet rope Fourth of July:

This is accompanied by the notion of an ideological velvet rope. We know from previous reporting that tickets for the VIP area been distributed to the GOP but not the Democratic Party. According to a story today, it has been suggested that the federal dollars being used for Trump's event should be diverted from those he perceives as his ideological enemies:
And while the Park Service has dipped into a pot of entrance and recreation fees to transfer nearly $2.5 million for the White House portion of the event, it is unclear which parks will end up losing funds as a result. At one point, Interior officials raised the idea of taking money from sites located in liberal communities such as San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, according to a person familiar with the discussion, but that has yet to take place.
This fits nicely with the Trump belief that disaster relief should be distributed generously to locales that back Trump (Texas, Florida) and far less generously to those that don't (Puerto Rico).

Although it all may be for naught -- it's been raining in D.C.:

The Bible says that when it rains, it rains "on the just and on the unjust." Also, I guess, on the VIPs and the non-VIPs.

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