This may sound politically incorrect but if it weren’t for the “top 1%” economic growth in this country would now be much lower, unemployment would be much higher and we would see real marching in the streets.
What some fail to understand is the top 1% is not stagnant. Most of the top income earners today were in the bottom half not that long ago. A quick glance at the Forbes 400, the richest people in America, shows that the list is mostly made of successful entrepreneurs not “old money”. In fact just 30 years ago, when Reagan took office, many on the list were earning minimum wage or still going to school.
Back then Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Michael Bloomberg and hundreds of today’s billionaires were just getting started, while some like Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Michael Dell were too young to have a job – they didn’t even qualify for the bottom 1%! And a few new billionaires on the list, like Moskovitz and Zuckerberg, were not even born yet. The top 1% is forever being renewed and refreshed with people that come out of nowhere.
Had these people not created the immense enterprises that they did I shudder to think how uncompetitive and broken our economy would be today. These people are not the problem they are the solution. They have pulled the country up not down.
The companies started by these visionaries; Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Oracle to name a few, are all huge employers. They pay billions in taxes, and have themselves spawned other billionaires and millionaires. The founders did not succeed because of crony capitalism, or government favours, most of them made it because they were smart, worked hard and had a bit of luck.
The point is without these risk takers, and the companies they started, we would not only have fewer jobs but our economic problems would be far greater than they are today.
There is no question that America faces challenges, especially in figuring out how to streamline a monstrously inefficient government. Instead of decrying the top 1% we should emulate them. Their spirit of innovation just might be our solution.