I saw Michael Moore on Jay Leno last night. He was talking about his new documentary, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” I’m not going into his confusion over definitions of capitalism, socialism, and democracy, and also what kind of government we have in the US. I wondered about some other things, but first had to look at a few statistics.
Michael Moore talked a lot about the top 5% of the population owning as much wealth as the bottom 95%. With this in mind, I checked out an article on Wikipedia about income distribution in the United States. According to the article, the makeup of households has changed over the decades; this accounts for some changes in how the income per household is calibrated. So, some changes are a result of the way all this is tracked and how folks are put into categories.
And of course, it makes sense that the folks at the top of the pile would have income which increases at a higher rate than the folks who work for every dollar they make. Or, for most of those dollars anyway. The more money one has available to invest, the more money one will make, right? This would account for some of the growth in the top 5%. And normally investments are making money, but these aren’t normal times, are they?
According to an article on 247 Wall St., the percentage of millionaires in the US has dropped by 22% over the past year. You can see the short article at: http://247wallst.com/2009/09/15/the-worlds-millionaires-are-disappearing/. This makes sense also, considering the drop that everyone has had in investments.
Even accounting for all this, profits of companies, incomes of CEO’s, and incomes of the workers who keep these places going, hasn’t been clipping along at comparable rates.
Having said all this, I have a few questions. Michael Moore says he’s “filthy rich.” The obvious observation here is that the system he criticizes made him “filthy rich.” Is he in the top 5% of the population, which they say has as much income as the bottom 95%? If he is, how much of his income is given to charities, to libraries, to hospitals, to anything that would enrich the lives of the supposed less fortunate 95%? Does he give away enough to drop himself down to the level of that 95% that he supposedly is so concerned about? Why do I doubt that he does? Another question I have is, if Michael Moore is not in the top 5% percent, but indeed is a member of the bottom 95%, what does he want? Does he want a piece of the guy’s pie who has more money than he has? Isn’t that greedy? Just wondering.