Are rich people tacky?

For a nation of people who once clamored and overextended themselves to look the prestigious part, those who aren’t really rich aren’t trying to keep up any longer. Frugality is fashionable again.

So where does that leave the public perception of the rich? Post-crash, citizens moved from envying and emulating the wealthy and their status symbols to chiding them for being out-of-touch and self-centered.

In response, many of the wealthy reigned in their spending, embarrassed by public sentiment that it was injudicious to drop money on extravagant parties and exclusive clubs.

But did the fiscal restraint by those who could afford to spend hurt those who work in the clubs, retail outlets, car dealerships and building industry even more? Did it hurt charities, who reported a drop in donations since the recession?

The recession provided important lessons for those who recklessly spent beyond their means, but maybe those who can write the checks should be encouraged to continue to spend.

Do you think the rich should flaunt it if they’ve got it? Or is that in bad taste?