They don't pay their fair share in taxes. Many of them subsist on government subsidies and bailouts. And some have poor manners, to boot. So, what good are the rich? That's the question I posed to Robert Frank, the long-suffering Wall Street Journal extreme wealth correspondent and author of the new book, High Beta Rich: How the Manic Wealthy Will Take Us to the Next Boom, Bubble, and Bust.
Well, they do spend a lot. And therein lies an irony. Just as we've constructed an economy in which the top one percent garner the overwhelming share of gains, we've also constructed an economy in which their spending accounts for a hugely disproportionate share of consumer activity. Lots of companies and professionals, it turns out, have business models that rely on catering to the rich. "We have an economy ,a tax system, and financial markets that are increasingly dependent on this group that has most of the wealth and the income," Frank tells me in the accompanying interview.
Take taxes. There'sRead More »from Are the Rich Good for Anything Besides Paying Taxes and Spending?