Emily Singer Wins the Leona Helmsley ‘Only The Little People’ Award

Leona Helmsley, the Queen of Mean, has posthumously passed on her award for saying-stupid-and-disconnected-things-that-only-rich-New-York-women-could-say to journalist Emily Singer.

Because only someone so isolated and pampered inside the pink uterine walls of New York costume parties and gossip mills could make such a disaffected and idiotic statement. As you remember, Leona Helmsley, in the days before Twitter, constructed the perfect tweet-length diss to people-who-are-not-billionaires:

We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.

The IRS felt differently. Prisoner Number 15113-054 ended up discovering new ways to make orange the new black at the Danbury minimum security prison camp highlighted in the book and Netflix series. But I digress.

Perhaps in New York City, where $1,000 a year is tip money for your pedicurist, saving that amount on taxes is nothing. But to people for whom $83 a month is the difference between eating meat once a week or not (because they don’t shop at Whole Foods), these numbers take on a whole new significance.

For people who don’t get gold-plated health care, who have to pay ridiculous ($20,000/year) premiums for a family of four, sometimes more than their mortgage payment, that $83 is very, very meaningful.

But it’s nothing to Ms. Singer, so I suppose she wouldn’t mind giving it away. The twitterverse has offered plenty of suggestions.


She could fund a recent college grad’s retirement fund.

She could help a widow get out of debt.


She could save on taxes by giving it to charity.

Or she could keep her “nothing” pedicurist tip money and ensure that Trump wins another term.

In any case, this simply shows how much ignorance there is among insulated, even bored New York journalists who write for Mic.

If I had a spare $83.33, I’d buy an actual “Leona Helmsley Only The Little People” award with a bust of her dog “Trouble” and send it to Ms. Singer. But I don’t.

It’s nothing, anyway.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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