Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Fantastic Four

Bill Gates is the guy on the right.
In the Atlantic, Derek Thompson decomposes the 1 percent, and discovers that the 1 percent have their own 1 percent. The vast majority of our economic gains over the past generation have gone, not the 1 percent, but the 0.01 percent, the folks at the apex of the apex.
While nine-tenths of the top percentile hasn't seen much change at all since 1960, the 0.01 percent has essentially quadrupled its share of the country's wealth in half a century.
Thompson concludes by identifying the most elite group of all - a group so rich there are just four of them.
The 0.1 percent isn't the same group of people every year. There's considerable churn at the tippy-top. For example, consider the "Fortunate 400," the IRS's annual list of the 400 richest tax returns in the country. Between 1992 and 2008, 3,672 different taxpayers appeared on the Fortunate 400 list. Just one percent of the Fortunate 400—four households—appeared on the list all 17 years.
So who are the Fantastic Four? Two of them are undoubtedly Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. I'm guessing the third is a Walton (Walmart) and maybe the fourth is, too, but I'm not sure. Any thoughts?

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