Posts Tagged ‘rich’
Tags: cartoon, George Bush, healthcare, Iraq, Medicaid, minimum wage, Obamacare, Republicans, rich, torture, WMDs
Tags: HNWI, inequality, Only in America, rich, security
High-net-worth individuals have always worried about protecting their wealth. Now, according to Forbes, as inequality continues to increase, they’re finding they have to spend more and more to protect their homes and lives.
Chris Pollack, president of Pollack+Partners, a design and construction advisor based in Purchase, N.Y., says that while security has always been a given in building homes for his ultra-high-net-worth clients, the spending for home defense has increased markedly over the last five years.
It starts with a property’s perimeter. “The exterior has always been the holy grail because you could never really protect it without 24-hour guard service,” says Christopher Falkenberg, a Secret Service agent turned security specialist for high-net-worth families with New York-based Insite Security. Cutting-edge technologies have strengthened that fence.
For example, FLIR Systems, based in Wilsonville, Ore., manufactures infrared cameras that can read the thermal heat signatures off everything in their sight lines regardless of time of day or atmospheric obscurants such as smoke. Human beings throw off more energy than trees or small animals, so the devices can pick someone out even from a hiding place, from a kilometer away in the lowest-end models to as much as 15 kilometers away in the premium versions.
Biometric technologies are becoming more prevalent, too. Moving beyond a fingerprint scan, some programs don’t require a homeowner to touch anything at all. Former Israeli major general Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash, onetime head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, has spent the past three years with his company, FST21, creating a software product that merges facial, voice and behavioral recognition technology into a keyless entry system. “It transforms you into the key for your building in under two seconds,” he says.
Windows remain an obvious and vulnerable entry point into a home. Glass-break detectors can operate within a 15-foot range, allowing them to be unobtrusively installed in the ceiling or on a wall near the window. The size of a silver dollar, they can be camouflaged in their surroundings, important when dealing with home finishes like gold-leaf ceilings or silk wallpaper. Some urban town house owners add a blast film to their windowpanes, which makes them nearly impenetrable, even if struck with a hammer or a pipe.
And don’t forget the smoke. The Corbis have a system that billows out fog screens that range from a harmless smoke meant to disorient intruders to a noisome gas with disabling effects lasting up to 24 hours. Then there is the Burglar Blaster Decintegrator, a relatively discreet ceiling-mounted device that, when tripped, showers pepper spray.
Such smoke systems can even be laced with a “DNA code”– SelectaDNA, for example, comprises a series of unique, synthetic DNA chains that attach themselves to a fog-shrouded intruder. The invisible, harmless forensic code lingers on skin for weeks, shows up under UV light and, thanks to unique markers, can be traced directly back to a specific home.
The panic room has also undergone a high-tech evolution that makes the old Jodie Foster movie look quaint. A prominent author who declined to be identified has had his South Florida home jerry-rigged with a physical perimeter alarm, motion sensors throughout rooms and stairways, and a heat sensor that detects room temperature differentials caused by a sudden change in body heat. If worse comes to worst: The third-floor master suite is outfitted as a 2,500-square-foot safe haven. Switches installed throughout the house will encapsulate the space, locking down its three entrances with reinforced doors while alerting local authorities. Taking it further, the space’s bathroom doubles as an inner panic room, protected by “a silent home defense system with sufficient armament.” Fortunately, it has never come into use. “The best system in the world is the one you never use,” says the homeowner. “But there is a lot of peace of mind that comes with it.”
Tags: capitalism, cartoon, Comcast, corporations, inequality, jobs, merger, Obamacare, rich, taxes, Time Warner
Tags: cartoon, Congress, food stamps, immigration, inequality, minimum wage, profits, rich, taxes, unemployed
Tags: chart, inequality, rich, United States
As Annie Lowrey explains,
It is not just that the rich have pulled away from the average American. It is that the richer you are, the more you have pulled away. . .
The higher a household is on the income scale, the more likely it is that a big chunk of its earnings come from investments rather than wages. Managers at Wall Street firms tend to take home options and shares, for instance, and chief executives often get stock as part of their compensation packages. . .
For now, it is a very good time to be very, very rich. The 1 percent are doing well. The 0.01 percent — they’re doing even better.
And Mark Gongloff adds,
Ronald Reagan helped start the ball rolling by slashing taxes on the rich, and his economists claimed the wealth would trickle down to the rest of us. Something has trickled down on us, all right, but it wasn’t wealth: The average income of the bottom 90 percent is actually lower today, adjusted for inflation, than in the late 1970s. The top 0.01 percent makes now roughly 1,000 times as much as the bottom 90 percent, up from about 120 times as much in the late 1970s.
And many of the factors driving this inequality — over-inflated executive pay, a bloated banking sector, low taxes on the wealthy — are still mostly in place. The richest will keep getting richer than the rich.
Tags: cartoon, class, coal, corporations, Duke Energy, inequality, media, Nazis, newspapers, Occupy Wall Street, poverty, rich
Tags: cartoon, children, corporations, food, Gilded Age, internet, middle-class, net neutrality, Obama, rich, Standard and Poors
Yes, a Canadian member of the 1 percent, not an American—in response to the recent Oxfam report according to which “the 85 richest people own the wealth of half of the world’s population.”
Tags: class, economists, inequality, mainstream, profits, rich, United States, wages
You have to give credit to mainstream economists: they’ll do anything to avoid talking about class.
Take the current discussion about inequality. Right now, eyes are clearly focused on two major trends: the share of national income going to the top 1 percent (and therefore the gap between them and the other 99 percent) and the share of profits and wages in national income (and therefore the growing gap between capital and labor). The issues are on the agenda, the data are easily accessible, and the charts are dramatic.
Here’s what the share going to the top 1 percent looks like (from the World Top Incomes Database):
And here are the profit and wage shares (from FRED, the Economic Research unit of the St. Louis Fed, where blue represents the profit share and red the wage share):
But, of course, once you look at inequality through the lens of those two data series, you have to talk about class: about how capital is gaining at the expense of labor, and about how top income earners are getting their share of the surplus created by labor. (There is, of course, a lot more work that needs to be done, in terms of both the data and an analysis of the data, but at least it’s a start.)
Mainstream economists, as it turns out, want us to look elsewhere—not at class but at the effects of anything and everything else. That’s how we get such nonsense as “Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality,” an NBER working paper by Jeremy Greenwood et al.
Has there been an increase in positive assortative mating? Does assortative mating contribute to household income inequality? Data from the United States Census Bureau suggests there has been a rise in assortative mating. Additionally, assortative mating affects household income inequality. In particular, if matching in 2005 between husbands and wives had been random, instead of the pattern observed in the data, then the Gini coefficient would have fallen from the observed 0.43 to 0.34, so that income inequality would be smaller. Thus, assortative mating is important for income inequality. The high level of married female labor-force participation in 2005 is important for this result.
Fortunately, Kevin Drum has showed how silly and misleading their analysis is. At best, assortative marriage patterns might tell us something about changes in the distribution of income between, say, the the middle fifth and the next quintile up. But that’s it.
Even progressive economists can get distracted in this discussion—as for example when Larry Mishel discusses the “tight link” between the minimum wage and inequality. While, yes, a declining real minimum wage can increase the 50-10 wage gap (the difference between the median and the 10th percentile earner) but that’s not the real source of income inequality in the United States. It does tell us something about inequality among wage-earners—and that can undermine labor as a whole, by lowering the floor and thus leaving all wage-earners in a more desperate position. But, again, that’s it.
Better it seems to me to focus our attention on the real sources of inequality in the United States. And that means we have to face the class questions straight on. Anything else is merely a distraction.
Tags: Kristallnacht, Nazis, Only in America, rich, Tom Perkins
Venture capitalist Tom Perkins, in a recent letter to the Wall Street Journal, compared criticisms of the super-wealthy in the United States to Kristallnacht.
Regarding your editorial “Censors on Campus” (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”
From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these “techno geeks” can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a “snob” despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.
This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?