Tag Archives | Rich People
Via Who Rules America?, a financial manager provides his perspective on the wealthiest one percent and 0.1 percent of Americans — i.e. his clients — regarding who they are, how they got so rich, and why he worries that they have too much power:
Membership in this elite group is likely to come from being involved in some aspect of the financial services or banking industry, real estate development involved with those industries, or government contracting.
Recently, I spoke with a younger client who retired from a major investment bank in her early thirties, net worth around $8M. Since I knew she held a critical view of investment banking, I asked if her colleagues talked about or understood how much damage was created in the broader economy from their activities. Her answer was that no one talks about it in public but almost all understood and were unbelievably cynical, hoping to exit the system when they became rich enough.
Billionaire Buffett sounds off in the New York Times:
Our leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.
While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.
These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species.
Note: click on the image below to see on Google Maps. Harry Haydon writes in the Sun:
A desert sheikh has carved out a big name for himself — by having his moniker etched in capital letters visible from space. Workmen scoured “HAMAD” into the sand on the orders of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan.
The name is two miles across — with letters a kilometre high. It is so huge that the “H”, the first “A” and part of the “M” have been made into waterways. The mega-rich sheikh, 63 — a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi — in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates — boasts a £14billion fortune that is second only to the Saudi king’s.
At least when people say that our government is for sale, it’s meant metaphorically. Wired UK writes:
For a cool $70,000 a night (for a minimum of two nights), you can hire the tiny country of Liechtenstein, which measures around 61.7 square miles and has just 35,000 inhabitants. According to the profile on Airbnb, Liechtenstein can accommodate between 450 and 900 people, has 500+ bedrooms and 500+ bathrooms. The cancellation policy is classified as “Super Strict”.
[This] follows last year’s attempt by Snoop Dogg to rent Liechtenstein to shoot a music video. He was rebuffed because his management did not give enough prior warning.
In an effort to contain class resentment stemming from a growing wealth gap, China has outlawed public ads that extol luxurious or ‘high end’ things. Are they onto something? Partial Objects takes note:
The clean up means commercials posted or aired in public can no longer include words like “supreme”, “royal”, “luxury” or “high class”, all of which frequently appear in Chinese promotions for real estate developments, vehicles and wines.
This move is designed to deal with the growing resentment about the wealth gap that exists between (some) urban and rural Chinese.
But note that they aren’t banning the wealth itself, or taxing it to oblivion; but managing the appearance of wealth, the description of wealth. It’s still okay to sell high end real estate, just don’t describe it as “elite” or “luxury.”
The Chinese government is fighting a linguistic battle, not an economic one. Anyone who sees a nice car may want one, but it is the description of that car and not the car itself that makes it an aspirational good.
What a shocker. Matthew Lynn writes in Bloomberg:
There is something surprising about a private banker warning his colleagues about the rich. It would be like a director of Volkswagen AG casting doubt on motorists, or the boss of McDonald’s Corp. distancing himself from people who eat fast food. Rather like valets, the main aim of the private banker is to court the wealthy.
At a conference in Zurich last week, the head of Barclays Wealth Management’s private-banking unit, Gerard Aquilina, appeared to issue a red alert about the richest of clients.
“Beware of the complexities of dealing with ultra high net worths,” Aquilina told his audience. “Demanding and often unreasonable” requests from them may create “impossible demands on the organization.”
Such as? Help with getting children into the right school, securing credit to buy property, or obtaining last-minute concert tickets, for example. Even worse, the richest of the rich turn out to be pretty stingy as well.