Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on January 29, 2012
Someone told me the other day that they were “in the top 1%”… which begged the question: How much do you have to make per year to qualify to be in the top 1% of wage earners? Did you know that you have to make over $400,000 per year and hold an average of 1.2 million in assets to be in that category?
The top 0.5% starts at 1.8M in assets.
“The 99th to 99.5th percentiles largely include physicians, attorneys, upper middle management, and small business people who have done well,” writes an investment manager who handles wealthy clients, whom I will call Anon.
The tier between 0.5% and 0.1% are people who work very hard for a living, but who will have to curtail their spending or budget themselves in order to retire. They will be living very well, but they aren’t the people who have hurt our economy.
It’s the top 0.1% that is living in a sea of cash. These people do not have to work for a living. Their cash works for them. You could say, these are the true “lazy people.” They made their money in the financial sector, from the “failure of complex mortgage derivatives, CDS credit swaps, cheap Fed money, lax regulation, compromised ratings agencies, government involvement in the mortgage market, the end of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, and insufficient bank capital.” Or they had been married to a person of that kind of means.
“Most of the serious economic damage the U.S. is struggling with today was done by the top 0.1% and they benefited greatly from it,” Anon writes.
If you ask most Americans today whether or not the wealthiest people in this country should do a little more to ease the economy by paying a little extra in taxes, most would say “yes.” But in order to raise the taxes on this powerful elite, we would have to fire most of the incumbents in office today by electing new representatives. I personally don’t think that would be very hard to do.
That’s the kind of quantitative easing I’d like to see.