Confessions of Philadelphia’s One Percent

They’ve been mocked, maligned, protested, pilloried, and generally blamed for the downfall of the economy. So what’s it feel like to be rich these days? We asked. Five wealthy (and anonymous) Philadelphians answered.

The Marketing Mogul lives in the Philly suburbs and also has a house at the Shore. He’s built his firm into an international business, and he’s worth north of $20 million.

I sleep the sleep of angels, being in marketing. If I worked for Goldman Sachs, I’m not so sure. They’re moving money around. And making billions and sticking it in their pockets. But they’re not producing anything. I am stimulating the economy. I’m producing something. I’m getting people to buy products. Look what happened when we didn’t have consumer demand for two, three years.

I’m one of the highest-level flyers with U.S. Airways. So that gives you an indication of how often I travel. And my kids love to travel. I want to give them experiences. I think travel’s the ultimate luxury.

You know what? I’m surrounded by people who have so much more than me that I actually don’t feel rich. I actually, a lot of times, think I’m not successful. It’s weird. I’m a piker compared to these guys. And I don’t have a prayer of getting there.

My daughter is the most money-­conscious of my kids. Because as my business came on, she grew up in a little more money. So she doesn’t know any different. And she actually asked me not long ago, “Dad, what do you have, like $250 million?” She thinks I’m Bill Gates. No, honey, no—not even close. Not even close. And by the way, you’re poor. Get to work. You have nothing.

I love giving back to charity. To me, it’s like—it kind of rounds me out. I feel pure.

If you have money, I think you have better health. There’s less stress. And access to—you know, you can get a massage. Get someone­ to come to your house. My wife—we have a woman who comes to our house every two weeks, and we get a massage. And it’s great. Your body needs that. It’s better health. You can afford—even little things, like my wife gets these special creams that you put on your skin. And the really good, ridiculously priced shampoos. I see the prices on them, I’m like, where do they make these things?

I’m fiscally conservative. But I haven’t found a party I like. Because the Republicans scare me.
Obama’s fiscal policies scare me. You saw what he’s doing. He’s going after the rich with increased taxes. So I’m going to pay five percent more taxes under him starting next year? That scares the hell out of me. I pay plenty in taxes. All I do is pay taxes. I pay the maximum.

The Occupy movement around City Hall repulsed me. I felt like these were people who were wasting time, could’ve been more productive than sitting there and camping out and creating unsanitary conditions in a public place. Every time I drove past, I was just tempted to shout out to them: “Get a freakin’ job! Get a freakin’ job!”

I laugh when rich people are criticized. I feel that anybody can have wealth if they want to. It’s all about getting an education, filling a need in the marketplace. Anybody can have money.

My kids have all bought in—they’re drinking my Kool-Aid. They’re workers. But they’ll create something, yeah. They aspire to—they want better than us, financially. Why not?

I think we need more scientists. Science is not cool. Do you know how many friends’ kids want to go into my business? That’s great, but we need more kids becoming scientists, and inventing things. So I can market them.

I think most people still aspire to have wealth. And I think as I get older, money is more of a motivator for me. I don’t know why. Because I keep score. I keep score as I get older. And I kind of wish I didn’t.

I take about $2.5 million a year. But my wife only sees $400,000. That’s it. That runs the house. Well, she does email me, I got one today: Transfer money in. I get these all the time from her. Transfer money into my daughter’s account. You add it all up, it’s another 50, 75 grand. Travel’s another 50 grand. That’s just for personal travel, not corporate.

But that’s it. The rest I invest.

The Boss is married with children and lives on the Main Line. He comes from an upper-middle-class family. His business employs more than 1,000 people, and The Boss is worth some $50 million.

Am I ever work-free? You know, I try to find moments to be with my family and shut down. It’s hard. But I don’t think when you’re running a business you can ever be totally away from it. Too many people are relying on you.
My wife and I probably spend a million dollars a year—that’s a fair ballpark.

When you are educated on how to give money away, you can really make a difference. And it actually motivates me to work harder, to make more money to give it away. I’d say I give more than $150,000 a year to charity.

I think Obama’s rhetoric against business and rich people has been brutal. I didn’t vote for him. I didn’t love the other ticket either, by the way. If McCain had had a stronger VP, like a Tom Ridge or somebody like that, that would’ve been great for me.

Listen, Obama got dealt a shitty hand: Lehman Brothers, the war, the recession. I don’t think anyone could’ve gotten us through it. The problem for me fundamentally was when I watched what he did with GM and the car companies, and he said to the bondholders, You need to take a hit. To me, that was fundamentally un-American.

Think about where Obama is today on rich people or big business. Over a thousand people work for me, okay? And they get up and do a good job. But you know what? Not one of them goes to bed every night knowing that they owe the bank tens of millions of dollars of debt. But I do. Okay? I take that risk. Every day. You can’t chastise the people who create industry, create opportunities for people to work, for people to have a better education, people to better themselves. And attacking people who have sacrificed to build businesses that employ Americans—to me, that’s crazy.

I think the worst is when Obama stands up there and says, All these rich guys flying around on their corporate jets. Well, you know what? Me and a lot of other executives, I work 18 hours a day, 20 hours a day. So if I can be in three cities in one day, I’m doing better for myself, my company, my employees, my shareholders. Do we want executives who are running big business to be stuck in an airport for five hours and not be able to get their work done and be productive? I don’t get it.

Obama had no problem collecting millions of dollars of royalties on his books. He should give that money away. If he’s that adamant against rich people—but he’s rich. He’s a one-percenter.

I think that when you watch all that Occupy stuff that went on, that was scary. Because that was, to me, like the beginning of class warfare in our world. And I’ve never seen something like that before. It was uncomfortable. It was wrong.

I think Occupy was very focused, and they were very well organized—on getting the word out that the masses need to be thought of differently. And I guess shame on those businesses that have done a bad job on making the workers feel important and appreciated. That’s not productive, either. But they’re also—America in general is lazy. And there’s a sense of entitlement that exists here that doesn’t in other countries.

I guess Occupy was showing me that it’s one thing to be bitter about what’s going on in your situation in life and say, I want a job, I want to work but we’re not creating jobs. But I was shocked to then see them also turn and say, You know what? We also hate the one-percenters. Rich people. I think they’re two separate things. It’s as if the rich people kept all their money and fired everybody.

Confessions of Philadelphia’s One Percent: Click here to hear from The Housewife.

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  • Bob

    Just amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/chiiillin chiiilin

    To all of you:

    What you don’t seem to understand is that the America you grew up in doesn’t exist anymore. Though it may be too much suffering for your egos to acknowledge it, you have all made your money through hard work … as well as a lot of help and luck. You had enough nutrition for your brains to work and develop in childhood. You had housing. You had health care. You got educations. You lived in societies where there were enough people who had enough money to be your customers that your business was viable and profitable. Without any of these things, you would not be successful.

    All most people in Occupy want is to make these things available to everyone so that success can actually be rewarded based on merit.

  • http://twitter.com/chiiillin chiiilin

    Dear Inheritor,

    If the private sector always does things less efficiently than government, then why do cost-benefit analyses of privatizing government services often show the opposite? Why, for example, did Wisconsin Republicans vote to end such cost-benefit analyses, supported by “donations” from the large companies who would benefit from them doing this? http://www.uspirg.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/Outsourcing%20Outrages%20Report.pdf

    You can’t make a blanket statement either way; you have to weigh the cost of government bureaucracy vs. the profit demands of the company in question, every time. This is not to say that there isn’t a reason for some government services to always and necessarily be government services because the motive for corruption by profit is too great – the justice system is a perfect example.
    http://truth-out.org/news/item/8731-prison-industries-dont-let-society-improve-or-we-lose-business-part-i

    We have become both a land of opportunity and a land of entitlement – for the wealthy. Remember how the major banks held the world hostage when they threatened to destroy the economy if they didn’t get their bailouts?

    The poor have neither opportunity nor entitlement. This is because pre-existing wealth perpetuates more wealth. “You have to spend money to make money,” is a well-known axiom for a reason. That is why, if you don’t want to have a stratified society based solely on the wealth a person is born with, but would rather have something that more closely resembles a meritocracy, you have to have a stable, dependable entity to level the playing field to a certain extent. If you’re over 45 or so, you had that growing up. Wasn’t it great? Let’s go back.

    Occupy certainly knows what it’s protesting: http://www.nycga.net/resources/declaration/

    Jobs in restaurants, fast food, and retail will not pay basic bills like food, shelter, and medical care. God forbid you have a kid or a sick relative. They are not a magic solution to survival. And guess what? These impractical jobs are harder to get than you think. Last time McDonald’s hosted its “National Hiring Day,” over a million people showed up to apply for 50,000 jobs: http://www.theolympian.com/2011/04/28/1633005/mcdonalds-national-hiring-day.html
    Though McDonald’s ended up hiring 62,000 people, that’s still only 6.2 percent of people who got accepted. Compare that to the percentage of applications that were accepted to wherever you went to college.
    One person was actually willing to kill for a job at McDonald’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUk430LGuYY
    This should give you a clue that people want to work, but that there are so few resources in their communities, it isn’t feasible. This is why redistribution has become essential, not because we hate you or your success, but because without it, the US will become a Third World Country.

    Occupy never asked for police escorts, you know. If you don’t want to pay for them, you should talk to your fellow wealthy people, who allocate police resources to intimidating people protesting grotesque economic inequality. Gee, why would they want to do that?

    You say your play is charity. That’s great. We do appreciate what you do, though I would encourage you to think about whether you are making the best difference you can. What are you supporting? How much does it impact social problems like poverty? Are you supporting medical research that most people will never benefit from or arts that most people will never see because they have no prayer of affording to? Are you supporting health care for sick children so they can grow up to kill themselves over their medical bills? Do you do this by planning and attending parties that, let’s be honest, do more for your public image than for the people served by your charity?

    It’s great that you have the opportunity to work forty hours a week and it’s also great that you can support yourself working that amount of time. For most people, that is not the reality.

    I encourage you to talk to more people at Occupy, remembering that if you are antagonistic about it, you will not get a full picture of the truth. Most young people I’ve interacted with, myself being one of them, will not accept a “negative wage” unless it’s due to student loans, which are supposed to be an investment in future earning potential. That may be being called into question nowadays, but what is your alternative? Work 70 hours a week, 20/21 at the dead-end service jobs that are much less plentiful than you apparently think? Still have to go into debt over basic necessities like shelter? I thought we were supposed to have ambition.

    That man you talked to admittedly engages in frivolous, irresponsible recreational activities, but a lot of poor people do so only minimally (e.g. celebrate their birthday). Characterizing all poor young people that way is intellectually dishonest. And though I don’t agree it tips the scales toward benefit in a cost-benefit analysis, there is a lot to be said for the money that building a social network will save you (being able to borrow things, having babysitters if you have kids, knowing an herbalist or massage therapist if you can’t afford health care, knowing someone whose uncle is a lawyer, etc.)

    Pardon me, but are you intoxicated? How is Obama a socialist? Only if you mean, “slightly less corporatist than Republicans.” I guess if you’re rich, you get to re-write the dictionary?

    Solving the budget deficit problem has to happen eventually if capitalism is to remain viable, which, I’ll go out on a limb here and assume you want. That will happen by certain segments of society paying for it. The choice in mainstream political debate nowadays is 1) Only the poor will pay, through dramatic reduction in standard of living 2) The poor and the rich will pay, with the poor having a modest reduction in standard of living and the rich paying amounts of money that won’t have a meaningful effect on their standard of living. When you’re running away from a wolf who’s already gashed one of your legs, do you rely solely on the gashed leg, or do you limp to safety relying more on your strong leg than your gashed one?

    This is basic strategy. The poor do not have or consume enough to fix the deficit on their own; it’s blood from a stone.

    And really, maybe it wasn’t you personally, but the tax bracket of the major players in the ruination of the world economy was a high one. The destruction of the economy was not wrought by the people who do your dry cleaning. It was brought on by the self-proclaimed financial “masters of the universe” and you know it: they’re the only ones who have enough power. Even if we give them amnesty, which they don’t deserve, their stolen hoards of money are the only conceivable way we’ll be able to get out of this mess and save modern life.

    Go to an impoverished neighborhood, talk to some people without being overtly dehumanizing, and then tell me that nothing needs to change. Without change, there is no hope there.

  • http://twitter.com/chiiillin chiiilin

    Dear CEO,

    If you are telling the whole truth, and I, possibly naively, believe you are – I applaud you. There are some points I think need to be addressed, however.

    In the ‘70’s, when you got into business, it seems that a majority of business really was about doing something better. That’s as it should be, and where we hope to go back to. However, currently the major players in business seem to have adopted an extractive rather than a creative strategy. We should have expected this; it’s easier and living organisms strive for efficiency. The pattern of the last 40 years strongly indicates that government regulation was the system of incentives pushing business toward creativity rather than extraction and corruption. That means, if we are going to have a society that rewards creativity and merit, we have to go back.

    I understand why you don’t feel you need to pay more taxes, but would you consider directing your passion for charity towards something that will lessen the stranglehold of the military-industrial complex on our government and economy? You, and some of your enlightened friends, could form a competing political interest group. Money controls politics, and you have it. Be inspired.

    I have to say that I’m a little confused about your segue into talking about terrorism. Surely, you don’t mean to compare Occupiers, or any other peaceful activists, to terrorists, do you?

    Terrorists are violent criminals, and income inequality causes crime: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292101000964. If the low-level terrorists that make terrorism function, like suicide bombers, had another way to ensure a decent life for their families, I doubt they would think dying was necessary. There are far more suicide bombers, as a percentage, than there are people willing to commit suicide for their political beliefs.

    As for doing the hottest new stuff, why do you think we’re not? For a moment, I thought you were suggesting religious repression, but then I re-read and saw that you were using Saudi Arabia as a positive example. I’m guessing you might think that public funding of the sciences is essential, but it will continue on its downward spiral until we can stop feeding money into the military-industrial complex. Please re-read the third paragraph of my letter to you.

  • http://twitter.com/chiiillin chiiilin

    Dear Marketing Mogul,

    I appreciate that you’re stimulating the economy, but I hope you’re marketing products that are actually useful to people, rather just creating false need and suckers racking up debt. In some areas, consumer demand is still pretty damn slow, but I don’t expect you to know that because I doubt you live there. A lot of people are trapped in these opportunity holes by poverty or debt. Some debt, they either had every reason to believe they could pay (underwater mortgages) or had no choice but to incur (medical bills for severe problems). However, a small amount of that debt is due to the consumer culture you help sell. Think about it.

    All you do is pay taxes? Then when do you have time to get massages?

    What productive ideas do you have for a bunch of people with no money who want to fight economic inequality and its devastating impact on society? Other than making themselves publicly visible, demonstrating strong commitment, and forming a community? What feasible idea is more efficient and effective than that? Occupy movements around the country have also prevented foreclosures and school closings simply by going to the relevant places and refusing to leave because what’s happening is wrong.

    If you had shouted, “Get a freaking job! Get a freaking job!” at Occupy, people would have responded, “Where?!” It’s the standard Occupy response, at least in Chicago, where I live. A lot of Occupiers actually have jobs, anyway, but can’t get enough hours (nobody wants their menial service employees to be full-time) or another job (wild scheduling is a favorite of managers to make sure employees aren’t tired from another job).

    Getting an education isn’t an option for everyone, and even for those that do, almost no good jobs exist anymore. You should be glad your kids can probably survive off of nepotism – they’ll need it. Or you could invest in actual meritocracy by paying a reasonable amount of taxes instead of gambling it on the stock market.

    You should also want strong, stable financial support for science. Would you be willing to bet on the private sector providing that if your child grew up to be a scientific researcher? I know a lot of out of work scientists. People don’t want to be scientists because it’s “not cool.” People don’t want to be scientists because becoming one probably means you will be broke and anyone who could actually be a decent scientist is intelligent enough to realize that being broke is awful. The fact that most scientists are horribly off financially should prove to you that in our society, what you are paid is unrelated to the value of your work.

  • http://twitter.com/chiiillin chiiilin

    Dear Boss,

    I appreciate your support of charity. However, given how few people can afford to give to charity, do you think that if everyone at your economic level gave $150,000 per year, it would be enough to solve the social problems that non-profits try to tackle? Or even make a serious dent?

    Obama had to choose between making bondholders take a hit and making the poor and shrinking middle class take a hit. Which is more un-American? The auto bailouts also made the sustainability of those companies possible, so really, bondholders ultimately got a sweet deal.

    Your company is probably amazing. Of course, that depends on what kind of business you actually run and whether or not your company contributes to political funds in order to get special favors to disadvantage your competition and the people of the world. I’m sure you’re great at organizing, but honestly, you’d be nowhere without your customers. Consumers are the true job creators. Come out and say it, your customers will probably like the appreciation. And it has the advantage of honesty.

    There are a lot of people whose debt is proportionally as significant as yours, but who did not choose it. By demanding special treatment from our government and society (which is what demanding you pay a lower tax rate than people who make less than you is) you are creating a situation in which millions of people are forced into debts that to them, are just as or much more intimidating than yours. And many didn’t choose them, and they can’t afford hotshot lawyers like you can.

    Why are corporate jets ridiculous? Because videoconferencing exists, and because many executives have laid people off and cut employee health care before they were willing to cut the corporate jet. I’m sure you’re insulated from how mind-rendingly awful that is, but that isn’t going to matter to someone who lives with the devastating effects of that every day. You also have the opportunity to hire two other people in those two other cities so you don’t have to go three places in a day. Then maybe you could be a more present parent in your children’s lives. Win-win-win.

    Heck yes, Obama’s a one-percenter. You and Occupy agree about something! Let that sink in for a second.

    However, class warfare has been going on since the beginning of human civilization, and frankly, rich people have almost always started it. There was a brief period in post-WWII American history when class warfare died down, but that was mainly because the wealthy classes allowed the lower classes to have decent lives during that period. Among other things, the wealthy allowed the poor:

    1. Union representation – Why shouldn’t your employees have their own team of lawyers if you have one?

    2. Wages you could live on without forgoing basic things like health care or going into debt for them – You have $50,000,000 and are apparently unwilling to part with any more of it, imagine what it’s like for someone who makes $10,000 a year working themselves to ill health.

    3. Education – back when people could go to college and not be in debt forever, and when going to college was truly a choice because we had decent manufacturing jobs that didn’t require college.

    Don’t expect the poor to functionally be the upper classes’ slaves and not get mad about it.
    That’s the funny, amazing thing about human beings: we will fight for our quality of life.

    Don’t like class warfare? You’re a member of the demographic that has the power to stop it. All you have to do is make small concessions that won’t even change your day-to-day life, and might even make it better in some ways, like being able to see your kids more.

    What are you talking about, sense of entitlement that doesn’t exist in other countries? I guess it doesn’t exist in war-torn impoverished countries, where people don’t expect to make it past 30 and where they accept watching their children die of simple things like diarrhea. Everywhere that isn’t a terrible place to live has more rights than US citizens do. Go to a hospital in any other industrialized country and say you have to pay out of pocket because you’re an American. You’ll have to help them lift their jaws off the floor, because to them that’s as horrifying as having to say you’ll pay for police protection out of pocket while you’re being beaten to death. Rightly so.

    One-percenter is the marketable term for the corporatocracy, which bribes/is government to enrich itself and impoverish others. You can technically be in the top one percent of earners in the US without being an active member of the corporatocracy. In total honesty, who we’re talking about is more like the .01% or the .001%. However, you benefit from the unethical activities of the active corporatocracy, and if you’re not doing anything about it, well… get on that if you don’t want us to at least look at you unfavorably.

    It’s as if rich people kept all their money and fired everybody? Not quite that extreme, but almost. The excuses for “downsizing,” which remember, means firing people who have done nothing wrong, were that they didn’t have enough profit. Then a lot of companies started making record profits, but didn’t hire anyone back. That’s true of my ex-boyfriend’s job, a horrible job in a furniture warehouse that he thought would just be temporary to work through college. Seven years later, he’s still there because there are no other jobs. He also took out as few student loans as possible, meaning he didn’t have time to work for free and pad his resume, putting him at a distinct disadvantage compared to the children of the wealthy. He’s the only one who works in that warehouse on his shift now, and there used to be a staff of 15. It is ridiculously unsafe, and the only reason he wasn’t fired is because he was willing to do things like use a regular knife instead of a safety knife in order to do things as unreasonably fast as he was required to. He nearly cut his own thumb off with it, and of course, can’t get any compensation to pay to fix it or let it heal, so he sewed it up with a sewing kit from a drug store, threw some Neosporin on it, bandaged it, and got back to heavy lifting. To clarify, he could see bone – this was not a papercut. So if we think having to do things like that just to have a dreary, indebted existence is complete horsehockey, that makes us lazy? If you think that, that makes you a slave-driver.

    But I bet you don’t. I bet you aren’t. …Right?

  • http://twitter.com/chiiillin chiiilin

    Dear Housewife,

    First and foremost, thank you. The reason for my gratitude will be explained closer to the end of this letter.

    Secondly, you stopped giving to charity because political debate shifted to consider that the wealthy should contribute to society in proportion to how much they benefit from it? It must be nice to get away with acting like a petulant child.

    Oprah Winfrey would not tolerate those shenanigans, so I recommend you work on a new financial alternative plan.

    So you “worked hard to get there” by attracting a rich man. What a good message to send to our society’s girls. Hoping to bag a rich guy is not a feasible life plan. I have no doubt you work very hard at being a trophy wife, but you undoubtedly had a lot of help from genetics, and being a trophy wife contributes almost no value to society. This is more evidence that the value of your work is unrelated to how much you get paid. Plenty of people work harder than you, and their lives are miserable. You’re lucky. That’s all.

    Let me spell it out for you: the entire point of Occupy is that working hard and playing by the rules doesn’t work anymore. That’s why people keep talking about fairness. I’m sure it must annoy your gorgeously adorned ears to hear about it, but it also bothers other people who work hard that they can’t get cancer treatment because they can’t afford it. That’s obviously more important.

    If you’re at a lavish party with people wearing expensive jewelry, they clearly did not lose that much money. The idea that the wealthy are suffering as much due to the “Great Recession” is a myth: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/06/IN721NU4S6.DTL Now you can stop saying that, or know that if you continue to, you’re lying.

    You think Warren Buffett’s an idiot, eh? So you’re establishing a precedent for name-calling and calling others’ intelligence into question. Hmm.

    You are being supported by someone else, you amoral half-wit. YOU ARE A HOUSEWIFE. Most people who work exactly as hard, doing exactly the same work as you – maids, nannies, personal chefs, event planners, personal shoppers, call girls, etc. do not get paid as much as you. You lucked out, even more so if you or your husband hire any of the above professions. So either admit it, or break out the Spam.

    You don’t understand that young people and poor people didn’t ruin the economy, but are being asked to pay for it? You really don’t know why people would be mad about this? Then read the news before you open your mouth. Or stop lying, whichever is applicable.

    How would you suggest that people with no money fight extreme economic inequality and the horrible effects it has on society? I said it before, but becoming publicly visible, demonstrating commitment, and fostering community is a pretty darn good idea. It’s not like we can have a gala like you can. Obviously, if normal people could do that sort of thing, there would be no reason for Occupy. How would you do it better, starting with a budget of $0? Really, I’d like to know what you have to say.

    So if Satan turned out to be real and he ran on the Republican ticket, which he would if he got into American politics, you would vote for him. That works out really well for your prissy, closed-minded, “family values” schtick, huh? I suppose you can only be grateful to be so dim-witted you can’t understand how disgusting that is. If you had the capacity to be grateful for anything, that is.

    Here’s why I am extremely grateful to you: you connected blatant racism to rhetoric blaming the “dissolution of the nuclear family” for social problems. Bravo. You’re not a satirist, are you? Wait, do you know what that is? Just in case: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/satire

    Just because you’re scared of black people, and shockingly open about it, doesn’t mean you’re right. Or wrong, really. It just makes you racist. It does blind you to the real reasons that patriarchal family structure isn’t often workable anymore. The lack of decent jobs you could use to support a family is insufficient to support that social structure. Most people would have to work until they were past childbearing years to truly have their financial bases covered if they had children. Add to that that the US is the world’s biggest criminalizer and jailer, and is it really that hard to know where all the fathers went? For you, I suppose it might be, since you blame poor women for their situations because they’re not necessarily as closed-minded, opportunistic, gold-digging, and frigid as you show yourself to be.

    You don’t want to rule the world. You want your husband to do it for you. How dare you accuse activists of having no ambition. They’re trying to change the world, and even the female ones are – gasp! – doing it themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/chiiillin chiiilin

    Wow, how long do you have to wait for a mod to approve your comment?

  • Christian

    Sigh. Unfortunately, these excerpts demonstrate just how far apart we’ve grown and how out of touch the classes are.

    There is a huge problem with this whole concept of “I earned it, I worked hard for it” so I should get to keep it in the minds of today’s youth. Here’s the problem, there are many MANY young people who worked just as hard, have done just as much, or more, who will NEVER get to earn it. They paid more for college, worked harder in high school just to get in to a good school, and STILL can’t earn a decent wage. I don’t think anyone rational blames all of the 1% for this, but the fact is that the wealthiest people in this nation have driven down wages and opportunity at all levels beneath them, primarily for their own benefit or the benefit of those similarly situated. Claiming you’ve done a benefit by enriching shareholders when those shareholders are primarily the wealthy, is not going to carry any weight with the populace, especially when that gain is at the expense of cutting middle and working class jobs or salary.

    Second, no one cares what your bills are or what your lifestyle is. If you SPEND one million dollars a year, yet believe that someone should be able to exist on $7.25 an hour (which works out to $15,080 a year, 40 hours/week, 52 weeks) or even twice that, you are out of touch and your money should be redistributed. Yes, the government may not be doing it right, but you aren’t either. At current rates, a worker might spend one to two hours of salary a day just on gasoline to get to work. This is not right. If that person is choosing between healthcare, medications, shelter, and food on a monthly basis, I have no sympathy for what your budget might be for flowers, home decor, housekeeping, etc. And please don’t go back to point 1, and tell me that you earned it, for the reasons stated previously.

    I believe that the majority of people behind the Occupy movement do NOT have a problem with people having money or being rich. The 1% are singled out just for imagery. The problem is one of opportunity and inequality – a college-educated person in the 1950′s could get a job, have a family, have healthcare, own a home, and retire with at least an average lifestyle, no real questions ask. The modern educated 20-something already has 6 figures in debt, will pay several times more for a house, pays more for healthcare, and is less likely to find a job than any of those folks.

    And when you have many many well-educated people, who see people with similar educations of similar ability, just older, that have so much more, you have a recipe for anger and resentment.

    • Jane

      I have to say I was surprised at how cold all of them seemed. What has changed so drastically is how the wealthy view themselves,, None of them seem to be happy with anyone’s success but their own.
      One of the words I don’t like to hear anyone called is “Idiot”,,,,maybe because I think it’s “Ignorant”.

  • sheth

    The arrogance of these folks is astounding and a litltle bit scary. To think that folks who have access to the best of everything are this woefully ignorant is really somewhat alarming. They really do live in a different world. The “CEO” was the only one who seemed to have any compassion and some sense of the Big Picture. There is much irony throughout the commentary. One interesting thing is that they brag about giving to charity but at the same time express contempt for those who haven’t achieved what they have in life. That makes me think that the charity is all about self promotion and paying less in taxes. Why even give to charity if you have such disdain for people who are less fortunate? Also, why would anyone stop giving to charity simply because they don’t like the tax policies of the President? If you care about a charity your contribution shouldn’t be based on your feelings about a politician. I also fail to understand how a woman who married a man worth $20m can lecture others about working their way into the good life. Seriously? What advice would she offer to those who aren’t lucky enough to marry someone in the One Percent? What formula for success would she offer? What would she say to women who are from a different walk of life and will never even MEET a man who is on track to be a millionaire because they are in a much lower social class? What should those women do to get a crack at the good life that she has “earned”?

    I also notice that these folks were incapable of processing the fact that people talking about income inequality and other related issues aren’t “blaming the rich” for their problems. How hard is this to understand? Occupy members and many others feel the government and other entities are set up to serve the interests of the rich. That of course is fact that any objective observer can accept. Our tax code is rigged to favor the rich which makes sense because they have a disproportionate sway over politics. Things are set up now to keep everyone in their respective classes. If you’re wealthy now its EASY to stay that way and if you’re not, it’s increasingly difficult to move up in America. THAT is what people are upset about. They aren’t saying the rich owe them anything specifically. People are saying you cannot allow the country to collapse due to excessive debt and lack of investment while protecting the interest of the One Percent. Arguments could be made that taxes need to be raised across the board to deal with some of the fiscal issues facing this country, but the conversation is always going to start with those who can most afford to pay. People were told in the 80s and 2000s that if the wealthy got tax breaks the wealth would trickle down and benefit everyone. That hasn’t happened and now people are asking WHY taxes need to be near all time lows for the wealthy. Unemployment is up, federal coffers are dry and nothing is trickling down. The current experiment has proven to be a failure. The rich are getting richer and everything else is moving backwards.

  • sheth

    Another aspect that was surprising was how much of the Right Wing dogma was represented in the comments. I typically assume that the stupidity proffered by Fox News and the like was for the benefit of lower and middle class citizens who are angry and wish to direct their anger and minorities and liberals. I genuinely thought that the well to do were too sophisticated to by into the ridiculous arguments made by the right wing pundits. Now I see I was giving the rich too much credit. Obama a socialist? Why? Obama did nothing to any of the Wall Street folks responsible for the 2008 collapse and tried to put TARP behind him as fast as possible. Obama’s campaign has tons of wealthy supporters who have no issue with his economic agenda. Corporate profits are near all time highs. Obama helped GM and Chrysler, stayed out of their operations and allowed both to work their way back to profitability as privately run enterprises. His healthcare plan is based on ideas endorsed by Republicans in the 1990s. Where is the socialism?

    They also complained about paying too many taxes when taxes are at 50 year lows. Taxes were higher under Bush I, Eisenhower, Reagan and Nixon than they are under Obama but these folks claim he is after an undue portion of their hard earned money. Obama hasn’t presided over a single tax increase in over 3 years in office and agreed to maintain Bush era tax cuts for the rich in a deal with Republicans. I just really expected these folks to be a little bit more knowledgeable and circumspect. Instead they offer the level of political acumen I would expect to find in the upper level at the Linc.

    It must be said that NOTHING tops the comments of the “Housewife” about the difficulties of being a Mainline housewife forced to walk on the same streets as black guys in Center City. No other passage summed up the attitude of these folks better. They shouldn’t even have to share the same space as those who aren’t in their demographic because it’s beneath them to even be such close proximity to “have nots”.

    • Jane

      sheth – I could not agree with you more. The Housewife is classic “new rich”,,,,Unfortunately for us, the only way she can be comfortable with her status us to make someone look beneath her.

      Maybe that’s how she felt was the only way be be rich. Rich is many things to many people.

  • MG

    As someone who works in the corporate world and has a sr. role in a large company in the strategy dept and interacts with the c-suite, these comments don’t surprise me in the least.

    The same wealthy individuals will never knowledge though all of the tax breaks and credits they get especially for charitable donations or the tax rates that favor capital over labor. They are just as focused on the top marginal income tax rate which is largely irrelevant to their marginal income tax rate or their overall tax burden.

    Trust me they would scream bloody murder if you if scaled back or knocked down most of their deductions or actually lifted the meager income cap on SSI payroll tax. Try mentioning to any wealthy person that the current SSI tax of 6.2% on earnings up to a little above $100k is the single most regressive tax on the planet right now and you won’t get much sympathy or mercy. If you tried to enact means-testing though for SSI, these same wealthy people would again scream bloody murder.

    Why so many wealthy hate the half of the Ryan tax plan to largely get rid of deductions. You will notice that he never has once said what deductions he will limit because he knows the wealthy will freak out once he does.

    Irony of most of these confessions is that in many ways they are just as selfish and delusional as the ‘Occupy’ people they openly mock.

    Additionally, every action Congress and the Fed took with the bailouts and QE1 & 2 was to reinflate the market first and foremost. ‘Main Street’ saw little benefit from these actions and if anything was hurt a bit by some of the inflation in commodities which filtered down to staples.

    If you look geographically, the wealthiest (whether Democratic or GOP) have started to isolate themselves and only live in select communities and towns especially out West and down South where you have gated communities with their private security.

    There is very little shared sense of community in the US anymore & we are gradually moving back to a society that will have clear classes based on income that largely influences opportunity. The notion that Gen X/Y will be better off than their Boomer parents is already gone because the current entitlement programs.

    Additionally, there is a fair amount of research emerging that the opportunity level has declined for Americans and is now below a number of European countries. If enough people in the US stop buying into the notion that everyone has a chance to move up because opportunity becomes so limited, you are going to be much more violent and harsh actors than the Occupy movement pop up.

  • barely a 1%er

    wow, the comments here are truly vile. The unsuccessful sitting here trying to justify taking that which someone else earned.
    News flash, kids. Successful people are not lucky, they’re better. Better at working harder, better at working smarter. I understand that your small bitter egos want to believe it was just luck. its not.
    Its truly sickening the lengths some of you will go to justify taking that which you did not earn. obama has succeeded in manipulating societies bottom.

    • sheth

      What comments are you reading? Obviosuly none of the comments on this site in response to the Philly mag article. People kill me with this notion that someone wants to “take” something from wealthy people. Most middle and working class people WORK. They arent in the business of collecting government checks funded by “the 1%”. People do not like how the current system is rigged to favor the wealthy and the corporate elite. That isnt the same as “class envy” or wanting to “take” money from the rich. People like yourself make such comments to distract from the real issues and paint yourselves as victims. I don’t want any of your money. And saying one class of people is better than another based on financial status is no better than saying whites are better than blacks or Latinos or that women are inferior to men. Having money doesn’t make you “better” than anyon else, it just means you can buy more than others.

      • Nat

        It’s ok for our “barely” friend to feel uncomfortable when faced with facts. It’s called “cognitive dissonance”. It’s a natural reaction to hearing facts that are not what you have believed your whole life. Kinda like everything you’ve ever been told is a lie.

        I had a similar feeling when I got my first student loan bill in the mail and saw how much money I owe and then looking back to my family/friends/teachers telling me “don’t worry about your loans because you’ll get a good job.”

        • Greg

          funny after reading all of these comments on both sides of the issue. The “99%” talk in opposite absolutes from the “1%”. Here is a fact for you “99%”, while I may be in the same “class” as you, you do not speak for me. In fact, if polled, I’d say the majority of Americans (yes, this is a generalization) would say that they are neither the upper class nor the lower class. They work hard to make a living (as do I) and they’re pissed that you keep speaking for them. Knock it off. Tying up traffic during rush hour? Awesome, really making a point there aren’t you. I really don’t care about your message anymore, now you’re just pissing me and everybody else off. You had your day, and when you couldn’t come up with a universal message we lost interest. And then the rapings happened. And the graffiti. And the human waste. And then we realized, you don’t care about the other 99%, you only care about making noise for yourselves…

    • NYCTim

      Yeah, Barely. Sure, they are better. Let’s see. The first woman inherited her money. What, exactly, makes her better? That seems like some pretty fortuitous luck to me. And the last woman. She married a multi-millionaire. That makes her better how? I can think of a couple of things, but the moderators would probably delete my post. But I’m sure she always has a lipstick handy. The worst part is she talked about how hard she worked. Doing what? She didn’t earn the money. It was there when she married it.
      As far as being better than me at working harder, you have no clue how wrong you are. I worked 80 hours a week for three years just to try to save up some money and give myself a cushion. I barely accomplished that goal and now Conservatives and Tea Baggers want to screw up the economy even more. That Inheritor woman THINKS she’s giving 80 hours a week between work and “charity,” which for her means partying and/or social gatherings. She would not be able to function on 4-5 hours of sleep a night. And as for your condescending negative attitude, Barely, cram it. I’m sick of hearing how people who were born with advantages claim they’ve worked their way to the top, when, in reality, they were already there or close to it in the first place.

  • Anna

    If you work hard and make a lot of money, I congratulate you. But disrespecting those less fortunate than you and justifying it by saying that you donate to charity, is despicable. What’s worse is what you are teaching your children. You all say your family is the most important thing to you and that having money makes your children’s lives better. I know these kids. I go to school with them. Some of them are my friends. I am one of them. They are spoiled, they are unhappy, and they most certainly don’t feel lucky for their privileges. They are entitled and rude. And it’s because you raised them this way. Use your money to give them adventures and life experience. Use your money to make the future of our government and our country better for your kids.

    • sheth

      I too found it ironic that the same people who brag about charitable giving talk about those less fortunate than them as if they are an inferior species. Reading the comments in the article you get the impression that these folks don’t want to see or talk to anyone who is in a lower economic class. The heart of the matter is that they believe one’s value is absolutely related to one’s wealth and thus people who don’t have money aren’t worth knowing or respecting at all. They give to charities to lower their tax burdens and to burnish their images, but they dont actually respect the people who might benefit from their charitable contributions. It’s also appalling to see that these rich people feel that anyone who is not rich doesn’ work hard. So if you’re a teacher, police officer, nurse, doctor, car mechanic, contractor, etc. you must be lazy because you probably aren’t rich. Afte all, according to these folks the key to being rich is simply to have ambition and work ethic.

  • bri

    I’ve only made it through the first testimony and I already want to throw up.

  • Dusty

    1% or 99%, I am a huge supporter of Occupy, and while oligarchy and corporatacracy are the sad reality in which we live, I keep coming back to this basic fact: Even if we close the insane wealth gap in this country and distribute wealth and economic opportunity in a much more equal way, WE ARE STILL GOING TO DESTROY THE PLANET. 1% or not, the American way of life (and modern corporate global industrial capitalism, for that matter) is unsustainable, and I think the biggest flaw with this whole 1% vs. 99% conversation is how pathetically anthropocentric it is.

    We are facing climate change, ecological catastrophe, the Gulf of Mexico is on its way to becoming a giant pool of death, species extinction is out of control, bees are dying off (colony collapse disorder), peak oil, and more.

    A sustainable organic farm that employs permaculture techniques or a thriving forest or orchard that provides food ARE TRUE WEALTH, AND ARE WORTH INFINITELY MORE THAN $100 MILLION IS SOMEONE’S BANK ACCOUNT. The former are actually real, and the latter is an illusion.

    Infinite economic growth is not possible on a finite planet, yet it is the constant goal of growth that goes as unquestioned in mainstream American dialogue.

    Sadly, taxing the rich is really not going to get at the crux of what the whole world is facing. We need a radical paradigm shift towards local and sustainable ways of living. Self-relient and durable communities should be a top priority. If you don’t know what permaculture is, google it.

    The model of transnational corporations, ever increasing profits, and industrial globalization should be held in contempt.

    It appears that “The Inheritor,” although I am sure the person has worked hard, had a giant cake served to them and they gladly ate it, and this person has continued to eat lots of cake their whole life, and they think they are entitled to continue eating cake for the rest of their lives. For me, it’s not about how much cake this person eats, as we Americans all eat cake in varying amounts, but the idea that we can all continue eating cake, in whatever amount we do, for the rest of our lives.

  • Pete

    To the Inheritor:

    For someone so successful, you seem pretty clueless. I congratulate you on your charity work, but really?

    You’re telling 20-something college educated people to go get a fast food job? Maybe their parents didn’t have the wherewithal to pay for them to go to college, and they have $100K or more in college loans, and you’re telling them to go get a minimum wage job?

    I’ve got news for you, lady. There’s a lot of people who work more than “probably 40-plus hours a week” just to make ends meet. There’s a lot of people working ridiculous hours and just scraping by, because all of the jobs they could have been making a decent living wage at now reside in third world countries, just so that your ilk can throw another million (or billion) on the pile of money.

    Talk about being born on third base and thinking you hit a triple…imagine your parents didn’t own a company, didn’t pay for your education, and you entered the workforce today with your B.S. Marketing degree…which mall would you find yourself at, spraying shoppers with cologne samples for $8 an hour? Think you’d have your own business by now? Wake the hell up, lady.

    • lolo

      Agreed- she (dana spain) is a complete moron. I would love to see how her life would have turned out if she didnt have daddy’s money. She’s so clueless its no wonder she cant find a man who can stand her (or her ignorance).

      • Nat

        HA! So much anonymity! I’m pretty sure we could figure out who each one of these people is. Aren’t they aware that while they’re living the sweet life, we’re becoming masters of the interwebz? A lot of us don’t have jobs, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t working. I had an interview yesterday for a retail job (which by the way are hard to find full time positions in) and my manager asked me “what do you want to do with your life?” I told him that regardless of what I’m paid to do, I’m still a journalist, I will still continue to write because that is my duty. I just don’t get paid for my hard work.

  • Proud to be a 1%er

    I do not want to attack each response individually, so I will say that as a whole they were terrible. Neither my husband or I grew up with money. We weren’t handed a “giant cake” to eat and we did not inherit millions of dollars. What we did inherit is over $300,000 in school loans. Oh and by the way, we don’t have ridiculously low interest rates on all of these loans. We got the high interest rates, which were the only rates offered at the time. We didn’t have anyone fighting for us trying to lower our rates, tuition, or financial burden. So, what did we do? We sacrificed. We have worked our tails off both in school and at our jobs. We gave up things that we didn’t absolutely need and we are in a great financial position because if it.

    My husband is an ER Physician and I am an ER Nurse (studying to be a nurse practitioner- on my own dime). We work ridiculous number of hours, and we work nights, weekends, and holidays. We miss family gatherings, birthday’s, and special occasions. We are always stressed at work because ER’s are busy, crowded places full of sick people. We have no sense of normalcy in our lives right now. However, these sacrifices do not come without rewards. we are part of the infamous 1%.

    That being said, although we are not obligated, we choose to take a large sum of our hard earned money and help our both of our families. We send both parents money each month and have lent large sums to multiple siblings.

    We do not feel that it is fair to take our money away when only a few years ago we were part of the 99%. we have worked and contniue to work so hard every day. Why should someone that chooses not to work hard enjoy the fruits of our labor? They shouldn’t. They should get off of their lazy butt and earn their money. They should stop complaining about what everyone else has and start worrying about the opportunities that they are missing out on. If these ignorant occupy people put half as much energy into finding any job and maybe giving “work” a real shot, then I bet the scales would start tipping in the other direction. I bet that the 99% would drop to 85%.

    i’m not asking for tax breaks. I’m just asking for equality. Why should I pay more just because I work more?

    Did you know that if you took 100% of the salary from all of the 1%er’s, you still wouldn’t even make a slight dent in the national debt. So, why should we be responsible for everyone else’s share? Why is this fair?

    • Jane

      No offense to the Proud to be a 1% – but….Don’t you think the “infamous 1%” would find it a little on the tacky side to tell the world you send Money to your parents and siblings,,,,,

      Do you understand that’s what family is,,,,,or like working hard, do you honestly think you are the only one that does that too??

      Good Heavens,,,,,You have cofirmed the obvious. Is it really all about you???? What a shallow angry telling post.

      • Jane

        Let me make only one more I will try to be polite notation. Your post clearly defines the difference between the “Infamous 1%, New Rich and WannaBe.”

    • NYCTim

      Proud, here’s the difference. You can work less and it won’t affect your day to day life. The fact that you CHOOSE to work more is based on demand and your choice. If you chose to cut back your hours tomorrow, what would happen? Would you need food stamps? Hardly.
      As for your whining about asking for equality, the middle class pays a higher tax rate than you do. We would be all in favor of equality. Perhaps you missed it, but your boy Mitt Romney’s tax rate was less than 14% on $42 million. I’ll sign up for that any time you like.
      And clearly you have no clue how much tuition costs have skyrocketed over the last couple of decades because of Republican cuts in education spending. That money needed to be made up somewhere, so tuition costs have gone through the roof, which makes it impossible for poor kids to go to school. Funny, how that worked out for the Conservatives. Let’s save the rich taxpayers money AND limit opportunities for the poor. That’s a Tea-Bagger win-win.
      Lastly, ERs are busy, crowded places filled with sick people (what did you expect, by the way?) because the people you claim “Want to take our money” are working themselves to death to try to scrape out a living. They are people who have been forced to take jobs with no health benefits or had their current jobs eliminate their benefits in the name of higher profits. This ridiculous notion that anyone who doesn’t have as much as you either is lazy or doesn’t want to work is nauseating and makes me want to slap you for being so stupid and believing that nonsensical propaganda. The overwleming majority of people want to work and pay their own way and make a better life for themselves. To claim otherwise is just insulting and shows hos remarkably out of touch you have become. Shame on you.

    • Lauren

      Thanks for this. I’m a recent college graduate from a lower-middle class family. I’m in debt, but I’m working everyday in a full time job to pay it off & move forward in my career. And yes, I was extremely lucky to get a job in this environment, but I did it through networking. And I think the occupiers could spend more time networking or interning to build their experience than to sit by city hall and create a mess for people who work for the city to clean up (my father being one of those city workers). I’m sure it’s frustrating to be without a job and unable to meet your needs, but the bottom line is when you work hard, eventually it will pay off.

  • JAY

    Pretty defensive, aren’t they??? Fair seems to be added to Give and Back as four letter words for a few of them.

  • lolo

    Inheritor= the repulsive Dana Spain

  • 99&er

    If being in the top 1 percent makes one truly believe that the rich are superior just because they were fortunate enough to have their hard work rewarded more handsomely than the hard work of everyone else, I will gladly stay in the 99 percent.

    However, I feel the need to point out that I worked my way through college to become the first college graduate in my family, finishing a semester early with honors. I bet I worked harder to get into the middle class than anyone lucky enough to be born to or marry a super-rich person. And I give to charity too, because I know I was able to get where I am partially because of people who were willing to help me. Just like none of the people in this article landed where they are in life purely on their own.

  • http://educatedbutunemployed.wordpress.com/ tallcoolbeauty

    I’m about to graduate with a Master’s degree in English, and along with many of my classmates, I’ve been unable to secure employment of any kind. I’ve been working since I was 15 years old, but last summer I was laid off from my well-paying full-time job due to cuts in education funding, and this is the longest I’ve been unemployed. I’ve always worked hard both in school and at my job, yet people like me are being called spoiled, lazy, and entitled.

    If I apply to menial jobs, I’m rejected because I’m seen as overqualified and overeducated; when I apply for professional jobs, I’m rarely called for an interview. I would like the 1% to tell me what I should do to get back on my feet? I’m not looking to vilify them for being wealthy – I just want to have a career that offers a living wage, which is something that most of us in the 99% want as well.

    • Nat

      Advice? I believe that was “work hard” check, “get educated” check, be born into money and have daddy hire you…Uuuh? And/or marry rich.

      • http://educatedbutunemployed.wordpress.com/ tallcoolbeauty

        You’ve hit the nail on the head, Nat. Unlike “Proud to be an douchebag 1%’er”, I’ve always pulled myself up by own bootstraps because my family is working class. It’s frustrating that despite the hard work many of us have put in at work, at school, and in cases like mine, at both work and school, aren’t paying off because my parents aren’t rich and I didn’t marry into a wealthy family.

  • Proud to be a 1%er

    You people really are stupid. The ER’s are crowded, but a lot of them aren’t even sick. These people are those who feel that the ER is an appropriate place to get their 10th round of meds for an STD, or that we are their primary care physician, or that our care is free and available for even the silliest of complaints…like “I need a pregnancy test”, I just moved here from Mexico and I don’t speak English or have any money, but I’m hungry”, or “I’ve had pain in my left thumb for 5 minutes”. These people waste my time, don’t pay their bills and then when we put their names at the bottom of the list and see the people who are actually sick (nothing major- just things like heart attacks, strokes, and trauma’s), they threaten lawsuits for the care that they are not even paying for- I’m paying for it with the ridiculous number of taxes I pay for you, your illegal immigrant friends, and your lazy family. This drives up the cost of healthcare and makes it impossible for small businesses to afford healthcare for their employees. They are frivilous lawsuits initiated by people who feel that they are entitled to everything for free just because they are in America. America is the land of the free, not the land where everything is free.

    Here’s a thought…why don’t you spend your time and money on a college education that will actually land you a job even in a good market. For example, nursing. You were never going to get a job with a degree in English, art, theater, or astronomy. While these things may be interesting, they should be reserved for minors and not majors. Perhaps this is where the problem lies. Maybe you should sue your college for leading you to believe that you would make it with a degree in these types of fields.

    If my husband and I stopped working so much, then we wouldn’t be able to pay for our school loans because we did not grow up with silver spoons in our mouths. We grew up working hard. Yes, some people do work hard and don’t quite make it. THIS IS NOT MY FAULT! I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOU MY MONEY JUST BECAUSE YOU CHOSE AN ENGLISH MAJOR AND I CHOSE A MORE REALISTIC APPROACH!

    Go make your own money and stop trying to redistribute mine.

    • http://educatedbutunemployed.wordpress.com/ tallcoolbeauty

      1) I’m not asking for anyone to give me money that they’ve earned – I simply want the chance to work again, an opportunity most people also desire. 2) A degree in English may not be as glamorous as a MBA or a medical degree, but it’s a legitimate degree – what kind of degrees do you think English teachers and professors (the people who educate your children) possess? 3) You’re very hostile and defensive. Instead of attacking me, maybe you should look at what part of your psyche is damaged that would cause you to be so hateful and mean-spirited towards a complete stranger. 4) If being part of the 1% means being rude, ignorant, self-centered, and ill-mannered like you, I’m proud to claim membership in the 99%, because at least I know people like me for who I am, not what I have in my bank account. Can you say the same? I think not. Best of luck finding your conscience, if it even existed in the first place.

    • http://educatedbutunemployed.wordpress.com/ tallcoolbeauty

      To “Proud to be a 1%er”, you may have money, prestige, and an address in a good neighborhood, but there are some things you are missing besides a conscience: class, respect, humility, decency, a sense of humanity, and a soul. I don’t vilify the 1% – I have wealthy friends and acquaintances, and they’re much better people than you could ever hope to be. I pity your spouse for having to live with someone like you, but if he’s true to form, he’s probably out tapping his next wife while you’re shopping at Barney’s.

      • http://www.themessengersproject.wordpress.com Nat

        I think sometimes people seriously lose sight of what Occupy is all about. There is so much hatred on this thread. We are not about hate. We are about making sure that EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING has what they need. Regardless of money- money is just an illusion. It really is, it’s all relative. If I see someone sleeping on the floor of a subway, do I think that they DESERVE that? Of course not. And if you do, good luck, because karma is a b****.

        I also find it interesting that so many wealthy people go to church and talk about their charities that they donate to. Ya know, if you’re going to take Jesus seriously about EVERYTHING regarding gay rights, women’s rights, and a slue of other draconian beliefs, then you can’t criticize the poor and homeless. I believe that Jesus said to give away everything you own and follow me. He was not speaking figuratively there.

        For your information, this is a definitive summary and list of what Occupy is all about and what we WILL accomplish.

        “As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

        As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

        - They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
        - They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
        - They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
        - They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
        -They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
        - They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
        - They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
        - They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
        - They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
        - They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
        - They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
        -They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
        - They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
        - They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
        - They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
        - They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
        - They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
        - They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
        - They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
        - They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
        - They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
        - They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
        - They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.”

    • sheth

      Why do so many people with money believe that when they pay taxes its a direct transfer from their pocket to the pocket of some lazy middle or lower class person? In order to keep taxes at record lows our schools are cutting teachers and programs, our roads are crumbling, our mass transit is the worst in the developed world, college costs are soaring and the economy is stagnating. This isn’t about taking money from the rich in order to pay off the lazy poor as Proud believes. Its about recognizing that if everything remains the same this country is going down hill. The problem is the narcissistic rich truly believe that America can remain the same if the middle and lower classes collapse. Apparently they don’t get that you need the 99% to buy the cars, shop at walmart, by groceries, invest in mutual funds, raise their children, etc. in order for this economy to keep standing. The rich are so iolated and so disinterested in the overall wellbeing of the country that they have no clue how everyone is connected. They stay holed up in ther rich enclaves and only socialize with people in their tax bracket so they thing everything is great in America right now. Eventually the problems of the lower classes will trickle up. YOu will find less qualified workers because more and more people wont make it through college. You will find more crime and blight and despair in the urban areas they like to visit for entertainment due to budget cuts and high unemployment. Eventually a road or bridge or train platform they care about will collapse due to lack of maintenance. If consumer spending doesnt pick up it will hurt their companies as well as their stock portolios. The 1% will not be immune forever but by the time they figure that out it may be too late.

    • NT

      While it may be that you’re in the top 1% in terms of income, since that threshold is “only”an AGI $350,00, you’re not in the 1% described in an article like as this. I believe that a lot of the distaste expressed by many comments here is really for the wealthy (i.e., those of high net worth) that extol the virtues of working hard, probably hold large amounts of their net worth in assets. It seems almost hypocritical for those who earn hundreds of thousands from stock investments an act of “labor” in the true sense of the word. A skilled surgeon’s work for example seems very different from an skilled investor’s. I would be that they have similar incomes but different net worth.

      It’s interesting that we don’t really distinguish between those who have high salaries and those who have high wealth/net worth. It might change these discussions on what constitutes economic fairness.

  • really?

    “if you have zero in your checking account at the end of the month, it doesn’t matter how much you went through”

    There is a huge difference in hitting zero at the end of the month if you have had enough money to cover your food, shelter, clothing, car, vacation, retirement fund contribution, etc. and hitting zero at the end of the month but defaulting on the mortgage and going to bed hungry.

  • My favorite part…

    was when the “The Boss” said that the Occupy movement was “uncomfortable” for him

  • TP

    Hey Inheritor are you Single – cause I really think you’d be fun to hang out with – Like your thinking – it’s not your fault you & your parents worked thier asses off to make some extra $$$$

  • TP

    Hey CEO – nice comments – it’s obvious why you’ve been financially successful – very enlightening comments – love to do dinner with you & the inheritor (on our first date)

  • Brandon

    I think the issue I take with some of these folks, is how they define success. It has been ingrained in the minds of Americans since the 80s that material wealth represents a good life. And while there certainly is plenty of opportunity in America to make money and be successful if you want to be a businessman or involved in science and technology, in the case of teachers, writers, and anyone in the arts, they’re left with nothing but immense amounts of college debt and a minimal yearly income despite their own respect-worthy contribution to society. That is, understandably, where the frustration comes into play – “Why is society telling me my profession is worthless?”

    There are also, of course, just basic infrastructural things the “one-percent” innately has a problem understanding if they come from wealthy backgrounds. One of the five pointed out that the student Occupy protestors were probably out and about on their parents’ money… this is a prime example of ignorance. Anyone who believes that in Philadelphia of all cities the average student is living off of their parents’ finances is delusional. The lady on the subway selling me candy to make money just to afford CCP says otherwise.

  • Andrew

    Pretty pathetic that these people don’t use their names and spend their time criticizing others. Also extremely questionable journalistically to publish these interviews anonymously.

  • Mya

    As expressed by many of those interviewed, creating conditions that encourage people to make money and succeed (despite the materialistic, soulless connotations of this all too American dream) is necessary for our economy to survive. Many of these 1 Percenters referenced the importance of “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps.” While I believe this ought to be the ultimate goal of any citizen in a meritocracy, I’m not sure how much American really still is one, largely because of the faulty structure of our education systems. Children born into lower class neighborhoods will not have the same educational opportunities afforded their middle class counterparts. Often, they will grow up in unstable home environments, and while schools cannot be expected to deal with family life, they should have adequate resources for counseling and support. Psychology has progressed far enough that I think we all know that these early development factors play an enormous role on the development of an individual and their capacity to succeed. Not to say someone from a poor background cannot succeed, but the odds against them are much, much higher. Even if poorer children put themselves through college against all odds, they will still be weighed down by mountains of student debt. I saw this paradox play out on a personal level: My sister has struggled throughout her life with multiple learning disabilities and behavioral issues. At one point, she was flunking ninth grade. But because my family and Lower Merion School District posses the financial resources and the desire to help her succeed, we were able to give her the extra support she needed. A child from a different background might not have been this lucky. There is a very tough line to walk between too much government interference and allowing rich people to play by all their own rules without any consideration for those less fortunate. We must change the priority of American government from useless wars and social issues to a drastic reshaping of the education system. Attention Must Be Paid.

    Also, that last lady was really racist.

  • sandy

    I agree!

  • http://phillymag.com paul brill

    The inheritor and the housewife should have the following written on theit tombstone: “Just didn’t get it” They’re clueless.

  • http:jacobrussellsbarkingdog.blogspot.com Jacob Russell

    Evidence that neither intelligence nor critical thinking nor even curiosity are requirements for wealth.

  • Harry Ballzack

    FUCK YOU LEECHES ON SOCIETY.

  • CKehoe

    Do you honestly believe that the “best intellectuals” are coming to the US to do what they want to do? I see intellectual liberty crumbling due to the way the funding is structured. If a scientist wants to do a particular kind of research, s/he had better hope that it looks like it will make money. Because otherwise, you’re out of luck. One of my doctors, and one of my friends, has explained this to me. Unless you have a super-wealth of your own resources, you research what the sponsoring company wants you to research, which quite often is not the right thing to be researching…

  • CKehoe

    Wow, are you actually suggesting that no black folks in Philly have “families”? The truth is, families may not look like your family, but that doesn’t mean they’re not families. Do your kids hang out with their cousins every day, or live at their uncle’s house? Just because somebody’s family is different doesn’t mean it isn’t very real, and very supportive. Oh, and you just said my brother’s family isn’t real either, because it isn’t “nuclear”. His kids have 2 moms and 2 dads. How could that level of support EVER be bad? Get a real education.

  • alisa

    Seriously? Is this for real? I mean – are these actual people? Being born into a wealthy family makes you “hard working”? Marrying well does the same? The only one who has a depth greater than 1 millimeter is “The CEO” and, really, he just benefits by the awfulness of his competition. If these are real life people and not some Dickens’ characters, if this isn’t some figment of the author’s imagination, these people should read their own words and reflect while they’re recommending cake to the masses. And PS the racist jabs were a nice touch.

  • mcfee

    Does anyone have a doubt that the “inheritor” is anyone other than Dana Spain? Hello? Family money, charity and business founded and sold? Why did these people not just admit who they are?

  • mcfee

    Inheritor = Dana Spain.