Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The whining/angry/super rich

There has been a recent flurry of blogging and thought regarding the super rich in the US, and I wanted to post a summary of it. Here is the original post from U of Chicago professor Todd Henderson that sparked the whole debate. He claims that despite his family's earning well over $250k a year, he doesn't consider himself super rich. A Michael O'Hare responded to this with a post that mixes number-crunching and sarcasm. Next a Bradford DeLong made some very insightful and sympathetic comments to the effect that, though O'Hare is right and Henderson is solidly super-rich, the expanding gap in wealth has left even those at the bottom end of the super-rich feeling like they're small potatoes compared to those at the top end. Next Felix Salmon gave a good summary of the back-and-forth. He talks about Henderson's priorities. One of them jumped out at me--Henderson considers private school tuition as an indispensable cost, because he cares about his kids. First off, I and most of my friends are products of the Chicago Public School system, and to be honest, we're smarter than almost anyone I know! Secondly, I salivated to think that with the 20 or 30 thousand dollars Henderson must be spending every year on each child's schooling, my family could live the good life for a year in Colombia!

Lastly, Paul Krugman gets away from the details of the Henderson affair to describe the rage and entitlement of the super-rich as a societal phenomenon.

And to finish things off, here's another summary of the whole affair, perhaps better than my own.

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