Jess Bachman

Did you know that the 400 richest people in America are wealthier than the bottom 60%? The 1%, you say? More like the 1% of the 1% of the 1% — and you can fit them all on one 747 commercial jet. This video has the details

Category: Video, Wages & Income

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

26 Responses to “Wealth On A Plane”

  1. idaman says:

    no offense Barry, but this one is ten times more impressive –

  2. stonedwino says:

    Brought to you by your paid and bought for Congress. The only way to fix this is taxation. Call it reverse income distribution…

  3. rwboomtown says:

    I’d add one caveat, Many poor people have permanent government subsidies. What is a 2,000 to 3,000 dollar permanent income worth? How much would you need to achieve that with an ultra safe annuity or bonds? Misleading. It is the working middle class in the private sector that are getting crushed by crony capitalism and rent seekers. Some more focus on that Barry would be really appreciated.

  4. rwboomtown says:

    One more thought. How did they make their money? I have zero problem with a billionaire who did not make his money at the trough of crony capitalism. Someone who made a product who made peoples lives better. I’m sure that is rare in this current environment, but some one who risks their own money and does not bribe for a monstrous contract from the government is not the enemy.

  5. Concerned Neighbour says:

    What gets me is that it’s in the best interests of wealthy people to see a healthy and growing middle class. Societies with highly uneven wealth and income distributions tend to be – or quickly become – sick societies.

    Anyone who has listened to any of a number of wealthy barons of industry speak on this topic in recent times will no doubt have noticed that wealth and stupidity need not be mutually exclusive.

  6. MakingtheDrop says:

    I am more concerned about how our “sink or swim” society is not trying to cultivate critical thinking and awareness of how “the game” is played but I am too busy treading water myself to do much about it. Sea change is coming however…

  7. socaljoe says:

    About 100 million people of that 60% are age 0 to 25 years old, too young to have accumulated any wealth.

    • Throughout history, that age demographic has never accumulated any wealth. Thus, it is a pointless criticism of this analysis, as it has always been the same whether there is or is not great wealth disparity.

      In other words, your observation is utterly meaningless.

      • socaljoe says:

        I thought the original post was utterly meaningless for just that reason… it failed to compare a misleading statistic to history.

      • There are tons of charts out showing that — by 2007 we were back to levels last seen in 1929 !

      • socaljoe says:

        Yes… my comment was in response to the posting… not the tons of charts that are out.

        Please read my original comment again… without prejudice or bias… I am not defending the current wealth or income distribution. I agree the wealth distribution in this country is a big problem, but comparing the wealth of a bankster to that of an infant is meaningless.

  8. sureseam says:

    The extremity and progression of the disparity is not confined to the USA and is really unhealthy for society. It partly stems from wealth, all to often, having become an opportunity for narcissism rather than an opportunity and responsibility to do great things that transform the dignity and well being across whole communities. Look at what the Cadbury family did, over 100 years ago, in Bourneville in England, for example.

    And no – buying another Picasso for a museum does not cut it.

    My only pause for thought is that: someone will find a drastic way of legislating for 1 person in a million – and when minorities are that small, there are a near infinite number to legislate for. And which point almost anything could happen and probably will. So who guides the selection?.

  9. mlnberger says:

    yup. after fiddling with the laws, buying a generation of economists, controlling the media, and hiring the most talented to defend the results, these 400 and their acolytes now tell us these results are the consequence of a “free market” from which all of us benefit, save for those who rely upon “the government”.

    the beauty of all this is that those 400 will start arguing among themselves about who gets the window seat, or choice of meals, or complaining about the long bathroom waits. the squabbling will turn to fighting, maybe even snakes on the plane (how did they get there?), and in this Darwinian cabin, fewer will be left. then, after they have finished with this next stage, we will be using the metaphor of the 15 or 20 who can fit into a space shuttle.

    and they won’t be able to stop some of the rest of us from installing faulty o-rings.

  10. Herman Frank says:

    Thanks for posting this clear message.

    If only your circle of readers would be 100 million and growing (beautiful thought!). If only the schools would have this on their websites, if only this information were on a hand-out given to all voters together with their ballot, if only ONE politician would dare talk about it and include it in his/her program, if only we could TALK about it, let alone set ourselves to righting our sinking cultural ship.

    A nation of paupers with an empty dream and a torn-up social contract is looking at some turbulent times ahead! Or is this going to be the land of zombie banks and zombie people? All to feeble to stand up against any kind of injustice?

    Keep it up BR! You’re fighting the just fight!

  11. WallaWalla says:

    There isn’t much discussion of this issue. The media seems to have successfully cut down the Occupy movement at its knees leaving no political movement or coherent national debate.

    It really makes one wonder if a true socially progressive movement is possible without the approval of the wealthiest ’400′ [overlords].

    Herman Frank: there are a couple of politicians out there still fighting the good fight. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren come to mind. Bernie for president 2016 :)

  12. robertso2020 says:

    Hi BR- At the risk of sounding like an idiot, why does this matter? I have to assume (again at the risk of sounding like an idiot) the argument is that with so much wealth at the top that prevents those at the bottom from moving up the socioeconomic latter. If that’s true, please explain why. Also, how do we fix this?

    Great blog.

    • 1. In countries where there are great wealth disparities, there tends to be more social unrest and violence

      2. A burgeoning middle class works to the benefit of all strata in a society

      3. I don’t want to have to live in a gated community or worry about getting shot a drive thru Starbux

      • robertso2020 says:

        Thanks for the response Barry. I’m assuming you gave me very quick responses because you don’t have time to respond to everybody. I get it. That being said, your answers seem to be more off the cuff than well thought out with empirical data…like you usually do with most of your posts.
        Re: #1, what countries are you using as examples and does the US fit the same mold?
        Re: #2 Is the growth of the middle class being hampered by so much wealth being generated by the those at the “top”? If so, how? I guess I always think Bill Gates in this situation. The made the world better for millions by inventing Windows. He’s the richest man in the world. I think an argument could be made that we need more, not less of that.
        Re: #3 This is the whole “keeping the masses at bay” argument. Which makes total sense. So I guess your suggesting providing significantly more social services to keep the masses happy.

        Sidebar: Have you been following the riots in Sweden. Sweden is the most socialist of socialist countries they experiencing rioting for days in “poorest” areas. These people are given everything. I know very little of all the undercurrents so maybe it’s not relevant to your “gated community” argument.

        I hope I’m not one of the guys who is displaying his own ignorance here. I just value your opinion and I think you do a great job putting current events into context.

        Best, Mark

    • willid3 says:

      well consider the French revolution. where the income equality was part of the reason for the resulting blood bath.

  13. gman says:

    ” I have zero problem with a billionaire who did not make his money at the trough of crony capitalism. Someone who made a product who made peoples lives better. I’m sure that is rare in this current environment, but some one who risks their own money and does not bribe for a monstrous contract from the government is not the enemy.”

    “The people on the plane” also have an average effective tax burden that would make a retired school teacher feel guilty.

    Almost to a person, the people on the plane have DIRECT access to lawmakers at the highest levels and are not afraid to put their fingers on the scales of justice.

  14. hankest says:

    In addition to Barry’s first points, i’d add a more big picture (small b and p) point… maybe it shows that “The Market” isn’t nearly as good at allocating resources as justly or fairly as some would have us believe.

  15. Lugnut says:

    The premise is silly, they’d never agree to be packed into a 747. They’d all be in their own private Citation. ; ) Jumbo’s are for plebes

  16. 873450 says:

    The freeloading 47% Romney doesn’t care about comprises more than 75% of the bottom 60%.

    These losers contribute nothing and deserve nothing. What they spend is our tax money coming back to us. What little wealth they have and don’t spend is our tax money not coming back to us. They should have no wealth. A simple, well-targeted tax cut will confiscate wealth they have for return to it’s rightful owners – us. What handout takers don’t realize is they are prisoners of a misguided nanny state our nation’s founders never envisioned. It is not until lazy do nothings are homeless and hungry that they will understand what true freedom is. Only then can we deport millions of illegals stealing their migrant farm working jobs and put them to work in jobs they are entitled to. Of course, without the illegal competition we will pay them less, but they will learn to appreciate there is dignity in work.

    Besides, the mother of all socialist entitlements we built almost overnight in 2008 to rescue, reward and subsidize TBTF malfeasance must now be made permanent. One lesson we learned from the financial crisis is that Wall Street requires a very expensive, diaper changing nanny standing by at all times. She cannot be shared.

  17. Livermore Shimervore says:

    Not sure if it was Sen. Alan Simpson, but I believe he tied the top 400 to most of the pork spending added by Congress in backdoor bill writing. Lowest ever taxes and some extra on the side. not bad.