…Drivers of high-status vehicles were three times as likely to fail to yield at pedestrian crossings. In contrast, all the drivers of the least expensive type of car gave way to pedestrians.
Fascinated by these results, Piff and his colleagues then looked at what created these impulses to bad behaviour. In their laboratory, the richest students were more likely to consider “stealing or benefiting from things to which they were not entitled” than those from a middle-class or lower-class background…
The reason, it turns out, is that even thoughts of being wealthy can create a feeling of increased entitlement — you start to feel superior to everyone else and thus more deserving: something at the centre of narcissism. They found this was true of people who were, in real life, better off. Wealthier people were more likely to agree with statements like “I honestly feel I’m just more deserving than other people” and place themselves higher on a self-assessed “class ladder” that indicated increasing levels of income, education and job prestige. This had straightforward and clearly measurable effects on behaviour.
Well-off people were less likely to help a person who entered the laboratory in distress, unless they had just watched a video about child poverty. In a series of controlled experiments, lower-income people and those who identified themselves as being on a relatively low social rung were consistently more generous with limited goods than upper-class participants were.
Outside the lab, Piff found that the rich donated a smaller percentage of their wealth than poorer people. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans, those with earnings in the top 20%, contributed 1.3% of their income to charity, while those in the bottom 20% donated 3.2% of their income. The trend to meanness was worst in plush suburbs where everyone had a high income, and never laid eyes on a poor person. Insulation from people in need, Piff concluded, dampened charitable impulses.
Wall Street, the real victims
This Bloomberg article by Max Abelson is bursting at the seams with outrageous quotes from high-profile Wall Street executives responding to attacks on the wealthiest 1%:
- “Who gives a crap about some imbecile? Are you kidding me?” - Bernard Marcus, Home Depot co-founder, on Occupy protesters
- “It still feels lonely, but the chorus is definitely increased.” - John Allison, BB&T Corp. director
- “Instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let’s call it an attack on the very productive.” - John Allison
- “I am a fat cat, I’m not ashamed. If you mean by fat cat that I’ve succeeded, yeah, then I’m a fat cat. I stand guilty of being a fat cat.” - Ken Langone, Home Depot co-founder
- “You have to have skin in the game. I’m not saying how much people should do. But we should all be part of the system.” - Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone CEO, on low-income households not paying income taxes
- “If I hear a politician use the term ‘paying your fair share’ one more time, I’m going to vomit.” - Tom Golisano, billionaire and founder of Paychex
And my absolute favorite…
- “You’ll get more out of me if you treat me with respect.” - Leon Cooperman, billionaire and former CEO of Goldman Sachs’s money-management unit
"When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich."
— Jean-Jacques Rousseau (attr.)
Regarding this fucking DC Decoder post:
I seriously get pissed off at these kind of condescending, the-plebes-don’t-understand-business defenses of asinine shit that rich people say.
My parents are the epitome of small business, bootstraps-types. All of their friends have small mom-and-pop businesses too. The more successful ones employ some people, but more run their businesses using family as free labor. These are actual small businesses.
To clarify what I mean: These are the kind of people who open stores up in poor and working-class neighborhoods that businessmen like Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) wouldn’t touch with a thousand-foot pole. These people work days and nights, weekends and holidays, just to make enough to support their families. Many of these small businesses would go belly-up if their tax burdens went up by even a small amount.
These are not the kind of ‘small businesses’ that would be touched by President Obama’s tax proposal.
My parents and my parents’ friends would count themselves as blessed to earn a $100K income, let alone having $400K left over to invest in their businesses after living expenses.
Again: FUCK John Fleming and FUCK his defenders.
….[B]lessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.
Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income…
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher […] According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.
I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. [….] And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.
— Warren Buffett, “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich”
The 400 wealthiest families in the U.S. aren’t just filthy rich, they are downright dirty. Collectively, these households own $1.37 trillion dollars; a number so high that it’s nearly impossible to comprehend. Here are 11 shocking things $1.37 trillion can buy that you can’t.
- The richest 400 households can pay off every student loan for every single student in the entire United States. No more paying for an education, so that you can get a good job so that you can… well, pay off your education.
- The richest 400 could pay your rent, and the rent of every single renter in the entire United States for three years.
- The richest 400 could pay the mortgages of every house in the whole country for 14 full months.
- The richest 400 households can buy every single house that was foreclosed on in 2007 and 2008.
- The richest 400 households could pay the annual salaries of 19 million families for one year. So go ahead, take that year-long, family vacation around the world you’ve always dreamed of.
- The richest 400 can pay off all credit card debt for every single person in the entire United States. Imagine that! No more credit card debt looming over your shoulders!
- The richest 400 households can afford to give a $10,000 bonus to every single worker in the entire country. What would a hardworking person like you do with that extra money?
- The richest 400 can afford to buy a new car for every family in the United States. Meanwhile, many of us must ignore the flashing check engine light.
- The richest 400 can pay for 3 ½ years worth of gas for every driver in the country.
- The richest 400 households can afford to triple the number of teachers in the United States, then give every single one a $30,000 raise. Teachers are being laid off everywhere, their salaries are being cut, and they are suffering. Teacher-to-student ratios in schools are abysmal. But what can we do about it when so much wealth is in the pockets of so few families?
- The richest 400 families alone could replace 70% of all money lost in the Great Recession, for everyone! How much money did you, your parents, or grandparents lose in the Great Recession of 2008? 30%, 50% of your portfolio? Not only do the rich still have enough money to fund their wildest dreams, but they can also fund your retirements.
I can’t even…
(Source: sarahlee310, via )
An Unfair Tax Burden: Citizens vs. Corporations
I’d love to see this juxtaposed with corporate wealth vs. personal wealth growth from 1943-2008. I suspect (but don’t know for sure) that corporate wealth has grown in inverse proportion to their tax burden.
I need this chart as a card to carry in my wallet so I can whip it out the next time someone accuses me of being a hypocritical liberal when I complain about the tax code.
I want so badly to put a link to this on my facebook, but I know it will just create a shitstorm that I don’t feel like putting up with.
I think it is so sad that we have to worry about pointing this out and causing shitstorms when really, anyone with a lick of sense in their brains should be able to see how wrong this arrangement is. Unless, of course, those causing the shitstorms actually LIKE paying taxes, which I sincerely doubt is the case.
"Yeah, but lower corporate taxes means a robust economy and more jobs for the rest of us! Right? Right?"