The Way We Live Now: Cutting where it hurts. Cutting teacher salaries and cutting jobs and cutting your bank account—that we can deal with. But cutting back on fresh flowers at The Four Seasons? This has gone too far.

Bloomberg says that he's going to eliminate a 2% raise for NYC teachers, in order to avoid laying thousands of them off. For teachers, I guess the question comes down to: Would you rather have more money and a higher chance of being laid off, or would you rather punch Mike Bloomberg right in his billionaire balls?

Modern Americans are no strangers to tough questions. Nearly half of our millions of unemployed countrymen have been out of work for more than six months—the highest percentage since the Labor Dept. started keeping track. So we don't want to hear whining from Spaniards about "boo hoo, we don't want any more austerity measures because it's terrible enough here already but if we don't do more our debt-wracked country may collapse and then what would happen to our fancy jamon, boo hoo," and we don't want to have pushy Greeks trying to sell us all their state assets so they can buy more spanakopita. The fact is that it's tough for everyone right now.

Particularly BP investors! Ehh?

Then again, some things you can live with, and some you can't. Teachers, foreigners, Wall Streeters—who gives a damn if those people are forced to trim a little bit around the economic edges? I'm speaking with American frankness straight from "Main Street" here, people. The serious shit, the shit that scares us, is this: "Many Four Seasons hotels have stopped displaying huge vases of fresh flowers. Others are closing their high-end restaurants on slow days. And some have begun outsourcing laundry."

Do the outside laundry people wash my shirts in rose petals, too? I was assured of this when I checked in.

[Pic via]