It’s not a secret that we were thrilled when “Real Time” gave us a chance to explore the lives of the richest and most famous people in the United States. And the rich and famous were in the mood for a “best-ever” list of their own.
What we didn’t know is that the richest among us are also at least $2 million in debt.
“We were shocked by the generosity, we were stunned by the debt,” says Eric Lipton, the head of the media analysis team at financial intelligence firm eMarketer. “It was like an epic surprise. For some reason, people didn’t think it would be very expensive, they felt that it was just like, you know, the best part of your life.”
The fact that so many people made the list — and the fact that those Americans who had the highest debt were rich, not just people who ran a multi-billion dollar business but also families — should have prompted readers to wonder if it wasn’t just a bit of rich envy being exploited.
“That’s the interesting thing: the rich people are much richer than the rest of us,” Lipton says. “That is a sign that they are very well-off and wealthy — that they have money to spend and that they want to spend it.”
“But I’m afraid of what comes next. I’m afraid that there will be a huge social movement — which is going to be a really nasty thing — but this is not going to stop the problem.”
The next big question after rich people’s list of debt: are we more or less wealthy?
We’re going to start by looking at who actually makes it on the list. What are the richest people on Wall Street? Who’s got the largest homes? (Here are the richest people, according to Forbes.) That should help clarify the issue.
The top 1 percent of Americans own just over 38 percent of the wealth in the United States, according to the Federal Reserve. The top 1 percent, which includes people like Bill Clinton and Warren Buffett, own about 14 percent of the population.
Then we can look at who’s worth more if you want to get political.
The richest 1 percent of Americans now own almost 38 percent of all the wealth in the United States (the top 1 percent now owns about 14 percent of the population). The richest 1 percent now owns almost 14 percent of all the wealth in the United States (the top 1
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