Jim Hightower
Guest Columnist
In the spirit of holiday harmony and goodwill toward all, I say it’s time for you working stiffs to extend your hands in a gesture of solidarity with America’s millionaires.
Why? Because we now share a common cause: inequality.
You don’t hear much about it, but millionaires are suffering a wealth gap, too. And it’s having a depressing impact on both their level of consumption and their psychological well-being.
While it’s true that millionaires are still full members of the 1-percent club, that generalization overlooks the painful fact that mere millionaires today are ranked as “lesser 1-percenters.”
They don’t dwell in the same ZIP codes as the über-rich few, who constitute the uppermost one-hundredth of the 1-percenters. Their wealth starts in the hundreds of millions and spirals up into the billions.
No doubt you’ll be saddened to learn that this divide between the haves and the have-it-alls is widening.
For example, have you checked the yacht market recently? In case you missed it, sales of your 100-to-150-footers are down by as much as 50 percent from 2008. That’s just one indicator of the hidden suffering being endured by the merely rich.
In this same time period, however, yacht sales of your 300-footers — which can cost well over $200 million — are at all-time highs. As a New York Times wealth columnist noted, “For decades, a rising tide lifted all yachts. Now it is mainly lifting mega-yachts.”
Imagine how this makes people with only a few million dollars feel.
So let’s reach out to comfort our downcast brothers and sisters who are quite rich but may be feeling poor.
Tell them, “We’re all in this inequality fight together.” And invite them to come to the next rally in your area to raise America’s minimum wage above the poverty level.
Columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown and writes for OtherWords.org.