April 22, 2014


Warning, this NYT op ad By Mark R. Rank might mess with your notion of who the “rich 1%” are:


Income inequality is a darling of the politicians who want to make you think there are a few ultra-rich at the top who are taking everything at the expense of the rest of us (and of course only by voting these politicians into more power can it be fixed). But the real story of America has always been its amazing opportunity and mobility.

While it’s true there is a huge gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of Americans, the fact is, these rich aren't the same group of people every year. Americans, during their lifetime, not only regularly, but NORMALLY make it into the top 10% of wage earners! And the vast majority (73%) will find themselves in the top 20% of earners at some point. An incredible 12% (42 million people) will be the “Evil 1%” for a year. Other years, those same Americans find themselves at the bottom or in the middle. Selling a business, cashing in an investment, receiving a big bonus or inheritance, making a big sale, etc. will propel people into the top brackets of wage earners. They will be the “evil rich” people that year. But the next year it will be a whole different group of people. The number of people who are at the very top consistently every year is so small, you can almost count them on your hands!

So, instead of jealously attacking the rich, or voting for politicians who will punish them with ever more taxes, congratulate them on their great year! For, in all likelihood, YOU will be in that group at some point. And shouldn't you be congratulated for decades of hard work which have culminated in a big financial payout? Or should the profits from that business you spent your whole life building and finally sold, or from that large collection of your paintings you sold, or from that huge bonus you got with your promotion after spending 25 years working for the same company be confiscated by politicians so they can “fix” income inequality and make things more “fair”?

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