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Just How Rich are the Ultra Rich?


Just How Rich are the Ultra Rich?

Josh Hoxie

Nearly seven years ago — I know, wow — the Occupy Wall Street movement began highlighting the divide between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent. Since then, it’s become common knowledge that income inequality in the United States is high.

But there’s more to the story than just numbers.


Dear Mr. Hoxie -

Your article uses wealth and income interchangeably and is thus quite confusing.

They are not the same thing.


I must have missed the metrics alluding to “wealth” in the article. The author appears consistently focused on “income” although I would expect his conclusions to differ little if he had used net worth and other “wealth” metrics.


I suspect the author doesn’t know the difference between income and wealth. Wealth is assets (items of value people own) minus liabilities (items of value that people owe) where assets are greater than liabilities.

THREE US residents (Bezos, Buffett and Gates) own more wealth than one half of the US population.

10% of US households receive ($113,820 and above according to Emmauel Saez). They receive 50.5% of all income which is, obviously, more than the lower 90% combined.

According to the National Employment Law Project 42% of US workers earn less than $15 per hour or $31,200 per year working fifty two weeks.

It’s incredibly important and one of the first steps if you’re addressing the issues of income and wealth inequality to ask the question: Where does profit come from?

Neoclassical economists have no idea and don’t even understand the question.

It can be shown that profit comes from unpaid labor time of workers producing commodities. That is, there are high income, i.e., rich people because of capitalist exploitation. So, capitalism is an inherently exploitative economic system that is destroying the ability of the planet to sustain human life. Unless decisions on what to produce, how to produce it and how much are taken away from private capitalists basing their decisions on profit, the working class and Earth itself are doomed.

Whoop! There it is!


There was a French appliance invented for solving just this problem.


That particular appliance has always been a good one to use to demonstrate the law of gravity!


Hasn’t Trump and Congress denied gravity exists and made it illegal to use the term in Murka ?


Please check your dictionary because included in the definition of income is the passive and unearned income derived from the inordinate aggregation of wealth itself. Not only is income in the Parasitic Capitalistic System of Economic Governance that we are economically and socially oppressed by a predetermination of the relatively few who acquired wealth by their own efforts but it is essential as the internal mechanism to the maintenance of the inordinate wealth that the top 1% and their 9% that dutifully serve the Psychopathic Plutocrats. Perhaps the only person confused about whether of not income is in fact an element of wealth is you and you are still thinking like one of us unwashed masses instead of the Economic Masters you seem to be leaping to defend. Unfortunately a lot of people keep voting the Oligarchs that are dutifully serving the Psychopathic Plutocrats into office and steadily hold the knife as we are gutted and hung in the shop windows of Parasitic Capitalism. So yes Virginia, in a Parasitic Capitalist System wealth is income because income naturally arises from wealth like magic mushrooms arise from cow patties after a refreshing rain. At least after the stomach pains of strychnine the magic mushrooms bring some nice colors and a smile or two while Parasitic Capitalism just brings intense stomach pains and deep, dark, visions of depression even while driving one’s latest overpriced car to the cookie-cutter house in the urban sprawl of Illusionville, USA where income arises not from wealth but from the poverty in service to wealth. And that includes the gilded peonage of doctors, lawyers and other professionals serving the Capitalist class just like We, The Rabble as we struggle to get by on our negative incomes generated from our lack of wealth.

The laws of the universe govern man’s pitiful creation of money just like they demand reality from all man does. Disobey the laws of gravity and the sudden stop is almost always fatal. Disobey the laws of wealth and poverty because poverty is the negative or the direct and proximate result of wealth for the masses. In a Parasitic Capitalistic System it can be no other way. In our perverted system of economic governance the poverty of the masses is essential to maintain the inordinate and immoral wealth of the very, very few. To suggest otherwise is either disingenuous or downright willfully ignorant.


Yes, terms like “yield, return on investment”, etc. are all forms of income derived from “wealth”.

Only those of us working for wages/salary are the ones not getting our income from our “wealth”.



For centuries 1% of the people enslaving the 99% was the most widespread economic model. Few Murkins know or want to acknowledge the fact that the middle class is a short blip on the radar screen of human history.

Today’s 1% are working toward neofeudalism…much better than slavery…whereby the 99% are expendable defacto slaves that the 1% do not need to purchase, house or feed…just use them up like so many rolls of toilet paper.

Its like Oracle founder Larry Ellison said: “its not enough for me to win, YOU must lose”.


Just how corrupt and subversive are the Ultra-Rich? Through their wealth they bought politicians, political processes, media, and subverted government.Of, By, and For the people to their own narrow ends - a great crime against society.

The current pres of the US may or may not be considered a member, but still exhibits the criminal contempt so prevalent in that group and serves their interests over all other people. Whether old money dynasties accumulated wealth or new money ambition, they all have subverted government to serve their own greed and self interest to the very great detriment of the society that made their success possible, by evading and manipulating their taxation. They can afford (very) to shift the burden, and have, onto the backs of those that cannot afford it - those LEAST able to bear the expense.

All in all, the crime and corruption, and the monstrous misery brought to the masses by the "Ultra-Rich very much deserves application of the “appliance” as an object lesson to end the ability of the Uber-wealthy to live lives of obscene ease while billions struggle just to survive!..


Hey Detergent - respectfully disagree.

Income and wealth are quite different - one can be high income and still own few assets.

Suggest reading Piketty chpts 10, 11, and 12


I’m hoping to re-train to a new career as said “French appliance” operator. I really, really want the job!


I agree. Is it possible that the middle class was just a experiment to placate the 99% and make them believe they had a chance to move up, if we just worked hard enough? And if you couldn’t move up the ladder, it’s all you’re fault for being so lazy.


I don’t really remember that part of history. Remind me, how that work out for the French? I seem to remember something about a reign of terror, famine and some wars. Also, guy Napoleon comes to mind. But then again, it’s been long tome since grade 6 when i studied Modern History.


I think there is more reality to your statement than many people today realize … simply because most of us was born in a time of boom economics in the USA. Most of us who are senior citizens know that most our grandparents lived a life in, or very near, poverty. Many of them knew what it was – on a regular basis – to not have nearly enough food for their family and shoes were a luxury.

I have on numerous occasions made the comment that workers with enough money to live comfortably is a fairly recent phenomenon. Most people hearing this look at me like I’m from outer space.

My grandparents – on both sides – who were born in the mid to late 1800s lived in poverty for most of their lives … just like the vast majority in their community. I can remember my parents making sure, on a regular basis, that there was always food in the house for my grandparents.

While many families today are facing similar circumstances as my grandparents … there is a long way to slide yet in the U.S. before we see the MAJORITY of the working class in poverty or near poverty.

This could change rapidly as social safety nets are being defunded and terminated.