WILTON, CT-Michael Chandler looks out the windows of his sun room, past the swimming pool and guest cottage, to the wide backyard where his two children are playing with their pet dalmatian, Scotty. At a time when Americans everywhere are sharing the struggle of a once-in-a-generation recession, Chandler can’t help but wonder how he and his family fell through the cracks.
“It’s just not fair,” said the 49-year-old real estate developer and grandson of oil baron Duncan Chandler. “Everyone is worrying about an uncertain future and coming together to express their outrage, and I don’t get to be a part of it.”
Staring out at the ornate garden where workers were installing a large marble fountain, Chandler sighed and added, “It’s like I don’t even exist.”
According to the multimillionaire, the past 18 months have been incredibly difficult to endure, as he is often left feeling excluded from an American populace that includes millions who struggle every day to make ends meet. Chandler, who watched helplessly as his enormous fortune easily withstood the market freefall, has been “completely left out” of one of this nation’s most significant cultural moments.
“Everybody’s suffering,” Chandler said. “And here I am, not scrimping and saving at all, with no demoralizing periods of financial hardship, or frantic weeks living paycheck to paycheck. What about me, you know? Where’s my struggle?”
“Everyone’s supposed to get a fair shake at this misery,” Chandler added. “Even incredibly wealthy people of privilege like me.”
“Every month they announce tens of thousands of layoffs,” Chandler said, “and every time, I’m not one of them. No matter what I say or do, it’ll never be me. My only memory of this historic point in time will be the prosperity I have always known.”
Added Chandler, “Dear God, when’s this recession going to end?”