For most Americans the near financial meltdown, coupled with the recession and job losses, has meant a struggle to make ends meet. And while it may be sad that many families and individuals have lost their homes and/or their careers, they should take solace in the fact that their loss in dollar terms is meager compared to that being endured by the super rich.
Yes, millions of hard working Americans have suffered monumental losses in the value of their 401(k)s and now find themselves owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. But really, when one considers the magnitude of the losses totaling tens and hundreds of millions of dollars challenging the top one-tenth-of-one-percent of U.S. households, former Sen. Phil Gramm's observation that we're a nation of whiners seems all the more valid.
Consider this from today's New York Times:
Rise Of The Super-Rich Hits A Sobering Wall
By DAVID LEONHARDT and GERALDINE FABRIKANT
The rich have been getting richer for so long that the trend has come to seem almost permanent.
They began to pull away from everyone else in the 1970s. By 2006, income was more concentrated at the top than it had been since the late 1920s. The recent news about resurgent Wall Street pay has seemed to suggest that not even the Great Recession could reverse the rise in income inequality.
But economists say — and data is beginning to show — that a significant change may in fact be under way. The rich, as a group, are no longer getting richer. Over the last two years, they have become poorer. And many may not return to their old levels of wealth and income anytime soon.