The news media seem to have discovered something that economic wonks and number crunchers have understood for quite a while: How much richer the super-rich are than everyone else, including the merely rich. Mathematically speaking, the difference between poor and rich is much smaller than the chasm separating the well-off from the stupendously wealthy.

We aren’t discussing income inequality, Obamacare or stagnant wages. I am aware that the poor in this country have no discretionary income, and that there are many disadvantages to being lower income in the U.S.: bad health care, poor nutrition, lower educational opportunities, limited economic mobility, even a shorter lifespan.

Continues here

Category: Markets

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.

3 Responses to “There’s Rich, There’s Really Rich, Then There’s the 0.01%”

  1. rd says:

    I think that there is soemthing here that is very overlooked.

    I don’t think Americans care about how much money people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Sergei Brin, Andrew Groves, etc. have. These are people who had ideas, the guts to execute them, and hit home runs in coming up with things that people wanted, essentially from scratch. These people show up throughout history, especially during periods of economic revolution, and are generally lauded (even if some of their specific tactics can be sometimes shady).

    However, people who are really just managers of long-standing corporations who came up through the ranks and would have been making a fraction of what they are currently making 30-50 years ago are the ones that gather the enmity. Basically, their primary differentiating skill set from previous generations has been the ability to convince a Board of Directors to hand them a large percentage of the companies profits that previously would have gone to other employees or shareholders. Otherwise, the performance of their companies have generally not been significantly better than their previous generations of managers. In the cases of many of the financial firms, it literally took acts of Congress and the Fed to keep their companies solvent in 2008-2009 which was not the case for most of the industrial and technical firms.

    Americans really do differentiate between innovators and entrepreneurs versus rentiers and managers. If only the Boards of Directors did too.

    • DeDude says:

      And – and a lot of these rent-seekers are trying to hide under the umbrella of the entrepreneurs. I don’t think anybody deserve an income in the 8 figure and above range, even if they did invent the wheel. However, I can accept that our system cannot set a cap on income and that a few brilliant individuals can get that high by doing something that we all benefit from. But it is absolutely unacceptable if they get there by exploiting monopolies or power to set or control the rules.

  2. slowkarma says:

    I’m quite affluent, but remained anchored by history and friendship in the middle-middle class, and a part of that class that is traditionally very liberal. I reject the whole 1% nonsense, and would have before I became affluent, but get no traction with my friends.

    There is, however, an extreme difference IMHO between a person who is worth a million dollars or ten million dollars, or even twenty-five million dollars, and people who are worth more, say, than a quarter of a billion. The former are usually small businessmen and women (including professionals, like doctors) who remain anchored, as I am, in the middle class, both in terms of values and the ability to do and buy the ultra-rich lifestyle. Usually, there is also a difference in what they do — the ultra-rich, in my view, most often make their money through what could be seen as some form of exploitation, unlike a doctor or the owner of a franchise restaurant (many of whom because of past inflation and mortgage payoffs find themselves millionaires at retirement time, even if that never really crossed their minds.)

    My test for the ultra-rich: do you own or lease a private jet? If you can afford that, you’re probably ultra rich. If you can’t afford it, then you probably aren’t.