Earlier this month, Times columnist Ron Lieber wrote a memorable column called “‘Daddy, Are we Rich’ and Other Tough Questions,” which began with a real-life story about the writer’s own four-year-old daughter stomping her feet, turning red, and demanding to know why Mr. Lieber did not own a summer home.
He had a follow-up post today called “Kids’ Money Questions: Why Not Give Away Our Second Home.” He asked his readers, “How do you justify it to a child who asks you about it?”
Pierre Lehu left the only, and therefore the best, comment. “Our summer home is just that, a cabin that is not suitable for year-round living. And though it’s relatively close to the city, in Sussex Cty NJ, you need a car to get around,” he wrote. “To go grocery shopping at the nearest A&P can’t be done on foot. And the nearest bus stop is a good 20 minute car ride away. And between taxes and other upkeep expenses like electricity and gas for heating, a homeless person would need at least $10,000 a year to live there. So it’s not suitable for homeless people who if they are ever going to change their status need to be close to where there are jobs and therefore my conscience is pretty clear.”
Except for too few commas, Mr. Lehu’s point was relatively reasonable. “I would guess that most country homes would pose the same sort of problems for a homeless person,” he continued. “So while it appears to be a fair solution for the homeless, in actuality it falls far short. Does that mean society shouldn’t provide suitable housing for the homeless. No, it only means that having a second home doesn’t make you an ogre.”
Summer house guilt, solved!
It isn’t clear if the commenter is the same Pierre Lehu who co-wrote Fashion For Dummies (and, with Dr. Ruth, Sex For Dummies), but a number listed under his name in New Jersey did not seem to be working.