Enough with the freaking starter castles – NSFW

A set of plans recently came through the office for a 10,000 square foot single-family home (a.k.a. starter castle or McMansion). Good grief! How many square feet do people need for their stuff?

When I think of the number of homeless people who could be housed, the number of malnourished that could be fed, and the number of sick that could be cared for with just a portion of the money being wasted on selfish, unnecessary frills, it makes me sick to my stomach!

I would estimate the plans alone must have cost $10K to prepare. The money spent on them could have gone a long way toward helping the needy.

When is this nation going to stop worshiping the stupid, almighty dollar and start caring for other humans the way they care for their bank accounts, landscaping, cars,  artwork, golf clubs, and other transitory possessions? You sure can’t take them with you – just ask the pharaohs, kings, queens, sultans, emperors, business magnets, and others who had their stuff stashed away with them in elaborate tombs.

Unlike what George Carlin describes in his classic comedy routine below, the afterlife is one place where you cannot take your stuff with you.

This entry was posted in consumerism, Environment, Health care, homelessness, land use, poverty and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Enough with the freaking starter castles – NSFW

  1. Mick says:

    Rick, doesn’t one of the largest homes in the Pacific Northwest belong to two of the world’s most generous and philantropic individuals? Isn’t the history of the U.S. marked by the incredible contributions of creative individuals who gave massive amounts of money to uplift the human condition. Folks like Andrew Carnegie who put a library in virtually every village and town in America. Men like Henry Ford whose Ford Foundation has contributed billions to noble causes. What American woman has been more involved in helping people in recent years than Oprah Winfrey who has supported palatial homes in Indiana, Illinois and California. Why there’s even a rather large mansion in Chicago’s south side Kenwood neighborhood that belongs to the current occupant of the White House.
    I could be wrong, but didn’t you write about the beauty of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture? I’ve visited both Taliesin West and East and neither would be called humble.
    Successful, wealthy people usually own big, lavish homes and successful, wealthy people are also those who provide massive donations to help less fortunate people both while they are alive and long after they are gone.

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    • Rick says:

      All of those people have or are leaving positive legacies with portions of their money – there is no denying that. My concern is why do they need to live a lavish lifestyle (especially huge homes)? None of those people have huge families where they need the extra room. It comes across like keeping up with the Jones or or dare I say “wealth envy.”

      Personally, I get more positive vibes from someone like Warren Buffet who still lives in a modest home and is giving away his entire fortune – though I think it would even more positive if he was giving away more during his lifetime. I think Rory McIlroy is setting a terrific example in the golfing world with his efforts to help the poor in Sudan.

      I must also give credit to Bill and Melinda Gates and Oprah for doing that, even though I don’t think they need to live in a big box house – I think it helps ground a person in reality versus the walled-off and pampered world they can be accustomed to.

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      • Mick says:

        Oh my, must have been too early in the morning because I failed to even mention the fact that there will be a whole lots of masons, carpenters, electricians, bricklayers, drywallers, painters, landscapers, plumbers who would disagree with your position as that 10,000 square foot house moves from the computer design stage to the reality stage. And, given the current state of government revenues, there will be local and state tax collectors who will be thrilled to have than large mansion added to the tax rolls to help with education, public safety, et all costs. And in a state where thens of thousands have left in recent decades I think there’s a lot of folks who will be happy to see the occupants of that home staying in Michigan.
        As for motivation, isn’t it enough to have a tiny percentage of the population providing a huge percentage of the tax revenues at both the federal and local level, be the primary inspiration for charitable giving, be the folks who take the risks to start and sustain businesses which employ millions of Americans without imposing your value system on what they do with what remains after all of the above?
        We are not rich. We happen to own three homes. One is a marvelously restored 105 year old house in a small town. We invested as much in fixing it up as we paid for it. We rent it. The renters are a young couple with two children. They are thrilled to find such a quality home at a price they can afford. The taxes are being paid and the community is better off because the house — like many in the little town — is not a hazzard, a financial liability or empty.
        Another is in WL and we live here half the year and we pay out of state taxes. We maintain our property in a quality manner and it is available for use by family members. The third is in a warm weather climate which has sustained huge hits from the economic downturn and housing market collapse. We live there the other half of the year. Once again the taxes are paid.
        I feel good about our contributions to our communities. Some might say it’s excessive to own three homes. It’s our decison. When somebody from government starts telling me that is not our decision then America will have gone to a place I don’t want to be.

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      • Karl Weiss says:

        Well, there’s something to what you’re saying. Freedom to prosper and all that.

        However, these 10,000 sq. foot homes just seem… excessive. It’s hard to understand how a family could reasonable use such space.

        Such ostentatious displays of wealth during a time when many people are suffering just seem distasteful.

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  2. Jane McClure says:

    I LOVE Carlin! And usually there are only 2 or 3 people living in these McMansions! When there is enough room for 2 or 3 families. Shameful.

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    • Rick says:

      I agree 100%.

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      • Mick says:

        There’s a nice 6,500 square foot home on Chicago’s south side with 14 rooms, 6 bedrooms, 5 1/2 baths and a 4 car garage that is owned by a family of four that’s sitting empty. Property taxes of an estimated $22,000 annually are paid and welcomed by the city.

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      • Rick says:

        And there’s a mini-city of Bush mansions all over the map. So what? Do they need all 6,500 square feet? I doubt it. Do the Bush’s need all their overgrown bungalows? No. The point is most, if not all of us DO NOT need starter castles or McMansions to live in. Nowhere did I identify one political party or another – you added that factor to the discussion.

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      • Mick says:

        Is still, in your opinion, an American’s right to build whatever size home they wish since as long as they are using their own money to do so? If so, do you believe people should be legally forbidden to build and own a home that exceeds a certain square footage? What about land ownership. Do you believe a limit should be placed on how much land an individual should own?

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      • Rick says:

        Unless the voters support such an action, I do not believe there should a law limiting square footage other than are already on the books in most communities which limit lot coverage. I believe the money and space (in my opinion being wasted) could be put to much better, more thoughtful, and more productive uses.

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      • Mick says:

        Whew! A reprieve for individual rights so folks can to do what they wish with their property, while observing local laws and ordinances, and put all those pesky tradesmen back to work. All of the trade unionists thank you (grin).

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  3. Bernie says:

    Although putting money to better use may seem like wise advice….telling other people how they should put THEIR money to use is not up to you. It may make you feel better about yourself, living within YOUR means, and that is admirable, I don’t discount that. Admonishing someone for living within their means (where their means obviously exceeds ‘yours’) seems petty and tainted with jealousy.

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