Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Bottom of Top 1% of US Households not that Well Off.

From the blog Visualizing Economics comes this graph of the top 1% of US households. Instead of viewing this group as a whole it divides them into 4 groups: the 99% to 99.5%, the 99.5% to 99.9%, the 99.9% to 99.99% and the top 0.01%. One can sort of understand the anger of the top investment bankers demoted from the top 11,ooo families down to the "proles" with as many as half a million households above than them "earning" more money.

The problem with the cost of living in certain areas like New York, LA and Washington is the high concentration of billionaires and multimillionaires. This expands service industry for the wealthy but causes psychic pain to the the merely well off. The lower edges of the top 1% who would feel wealthier in other communities if not for the competition with many more people that have 5, 10 , 50 and 100 times more money. In other times and places it was colonels being outbid by generals when on campaign the supply of luxuries and even necessities was limited. Whereas in their regitmental depots colonels could feel wealthier.

On a related note here is a an article by Michael Lewis, The Mansion: a Sub Prime Parable. Michael Lewis has been a successful writer and commentator for 2 decades. He has reached that pinnaclethat many aspire, where he can make a living and even a a good living writing. The impression in this article is that he is in the top 1%. However when he moves back to New Orleans he rents a house that could only really be afforded by someone in the top 0.01%, that is by someone truly rich.

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