JIM HIGHTOWER: Ultra-big houses for ultra-big egos

The uber-rich like to collect trophies as proof of their unsurpassed uberness.

These are not like the tacky brass trophy you won in a bowling tournament. No, no – global ultra-billionaires compete ferociously with each other in X-treme Wealth Games to have the most dazzlingly-gorgeous trophy wife, the most humongous and elaborate trophy yacht on the seven seas, etc. And now comes the most ostentatious game of one-upsmanship yet: The trophy mansion.

Forget those $10 million show houses perched pretentiously atop a peak in Aspen for all to see – we’re talking $100 million, $200… $500 million, mine-is-bigger-than-yours monuments to mammon. For example, a gold rush of developers are constructing monstrous trophy mansions in Los Angeles. How big? My entire house is 1,500 square feet, but these things have 8,000-square-foot master bedrooms, closets so vast they include catwalks, full-size IMAX movie theaters, and even “Champagne rooms.”

One of these bungalows in the luxe zip code of Bel Air is listed for sale at half-a-billion dollars. It encompasses 110,000 square feet of indoor space (the size of a shopping mall), plus a bowling alley, a night club, a casino, and – get this – four swimming pools! “Who in their right mind needs four swimming pools?” asks a neighbor who paid a mere 10 million bucks or so for his luxurious Bel Air home. Well, sniffed the developer, one can work up quite a sweat going around this maxi-mansion, so: “Why would you not need four swimming pools?” Adding to the narcissistic self-indulgence of these trophy hunters, note that this $500-million Taj Mahal is not even meant to be the owner’s main home, but a place for occasional getaways – “nobody buys a 100,000-square foot home to use every day,” explains the developer.

Such excess in not just an embarrassment of riches, it’s obscene.

Columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

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Posted by Jim Hightower

Columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

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