Photo: (AP Photo/Charles Kelly)
It was September 1974 when the chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Greenspan, said we should pity the rich:“If you really wanted to examine percentage-wise who was hurt the most on their income, it was Wall Street brokers.”
This may have been the moment when the pity-the-rich discourse went mainstream, observes economist Bruce Bartlett at NY Economix. And this was just the start:
Subsequently, The Times reported on the travails of a stockbroker whose income had fallen to just $20,000 in 1974 from $100,000 in 1970, forcing his wife to take a job and him to make extra money selling desserts to local restaurants.
(To put these numbers into perspective, a calculator maintained by the Economic History Association says that $100,000 in 1970 has an “economic status” value of $925,000 today, and $20,000 in 1974 is worth $134,000 today.)
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