The Secret Thoughts of Wealthy Philadelphians

Local one-percenters talk Occupy Philly, Barack Obama and what it's like to be rich.

One thing that separates magazine journalism from newspaper journalism is point of view. That is, while newspaper reporters generally strive for objectivity and balance in their stories, magazines writers—at least in magazines like Philadelphia—typically approach their subjects with more latitude, leeway and license. Yes, accuracy is paramount and fairness important, but what shines through in a great magazine story is the writer’s own take—his or her own observations, ideas and attitudes about the material.

That said, there are times when the most compelling point of view about a subject is essentially no point of view at all. Such is the case with one feature in our May issue, “Confessions of Philadelphia’s One Percent.” The story was born out of simple curiosity: What’s it like to be loaded in an era when wealth has taken on, at least in some quarters, a nefarious connotation? To find out, writer at large Bob Huber—who a few months ago explored the plight of Philadelphia’s working class by spending a month at the Melrose Diner—reached out to a handful of our city’s well-to-do and got them to open up—candidly, anonymously—about how much money they have, how they spend it, what they think of Occupy Philadelphia, and where they think America is headed. Bob lets his subjects tell their stories completely in their own words, without commentary or judgment, and it’s that lack of a filter that makes the piece so compelling. A few excerpts:

The Inheritor: “Our socialist president is looking around and saying, it’s not your fault, it’s the rich people’s fault. So let’s attack them. No, Mr. President, it’s your fault, for telling everyone in America that hope and change is on the way, and that hope and change is going to be paid for, by us.”

The CEO: “I think protest movements generally are a very healthy dimension of American life and have been all along. The Occupy movement was right—the banks did get away with it.”

The Marketing Mogul: “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.”

What you think of what these one-percenters have to say will undoubtedly depend on your own point of view about the world (and perhaps how much money you make). Got a comment? Read the rest of “Confessions of Philadelphia’s One Percent” and let us know what you think.