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Top 1 percent of the super rich control 40 percent of America's wealth

zeina awad tv host of fault lines

Zeina Awad - Investigative Journalist and co-host of TV docu-series Fault Lines

delves into the world of the power brokers with tough questions



  by Joseph Earnest  September 3, 2011


Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas -- A recent investigative report showed that the richest 1 percent of Americans earn nearly a quarter of the country's income and control 40 percent of the country's wealth. Income disparity in America is more extreme than it has been in almost a century, and the divide between the super-rich and the poor and middle class people has widened drastically over the last 30 years.


William Domhoff, professor of Sociology at University of California at Santa Cruz says, "Generally speaking, wealth is the value of everything a person or family owns, minus any debts. However, for purposes of studying the wealth distribution, economists define wealth in terms of marketable assets, such as real estate, stocks, and bonds, leaving aside consumer durables like cars and household items because they are not as readily converted into cash and are more valuable to their owners for use purposes than they are for resale."


Professor Domhoff then describes what income is: "Income is what people earn from work, but also from dividends, interest, and any rents or royalties that are paid to them on properties they own. In theory, those who own a great deal of wealth may or may not have high incomes, depending on the returns they receive from their wealth, but in reality those at the very top of the wealth distribution usually have the most income."

 The documentary below, gives us more insight into the topic of wealth


Top 1 percent documentary - hosted by Zeina Awad


Unfortunately Paul Ryan, perhaps the most most brilliant mathematical mind in politics, when faced with tough questions, decided to dash into his vehicle, rather than explain his position to the public.  We don't see this kind of journalism often in the corporate media because the large corporations own the media.


Super rich salaries

While the documentary reveals that the median salary in the U.S. is $50,000, AFL/CIO provides up-to-date information on CEO salaries at their Web site. There, you can learn that the median compensation for CEO's in all industries as of early 2010 is $3.9 million; it's $10.6 million for the companies listed in Standard and Poor's 500, and $19.8 million for the companies listed in the Dow-Jones Industrial Average. Since the median worker's pay is about $36,000-$50,000, you can quickly calculate that CEOs in general make 100 times as much as the workers, that CEO's of S&P 500 firms make almost 300 times as much, and that CEOs at the Dow-Jones companies make 550 times as much.   Click here to see the average CEO's salary. (pop-up)


In addition, the New York Times compiled the latest executive compensation of the highest paid CEOs in America that can be viewed here. (pop-up)


Interestingly enough, the documentary also reveals that Washington and Wall Street became intertwined because the rich not only became richer, they became more politically powerful.  This chart shows the biggest donors to both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party as indicated here (pop-up)


My good friend Zeina described the challenges she faced in trying to interview the super rich on topics of their personal wealth:

"We knocked on so many doors ... and no one would talk to us," she said.


Yet Harvard graduate Jason Gurwin relates how he can easily access the affluent:

"The access that you have to the people is incredible.  You'll email an executive at a top company, and you'll get an email back 15 minutes later with an offer to talk," he said.


What Jason was talking about in his subliminal message was the most important step required in building wealth -- mentorship.  You can never succeed alone.  It takes the mentorship of someone already successful to turn a protege into another success story.  There are two ways people learn: either through pain or through mentors, yet mentorship is something that is not taken seriously, perhaps because people are afraid to reach out, or feel it is unnecessary to do so, but Jason Gurwin is an example of someone willing to be mentored so he can learn the secrets to building wealth.


The rich and poor both have 24 hours in one day, yet one group is able to use its time productively to build wealth, while the other is unable to do so. That is why mentors are very important because they impart on the protege the wisdom they have accumulated throughout the years, so that the protege can duplicate the mentor's success.  If you want to know how successful someone will be, don't look at that person, look at his or her mentor.  If you want to know how successful  Dr. Phil will be, take a look at Oprah; if you want to know how successful Eminem will be, take a look at Dr. Dre; if you want to know how successful Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook will be, take a look at his mentor Bill Gates; if you want to know how successful Plato will be as a philosopher, take a look at Socrates.


Even Cicero himself, the greatest mind in ancient history who surpassed the Greeks, sat at the feet of other fellow Romans as well Greeks.  He studied rhetoric with Demetrius in Athens.  He also learned from the Stoic Posidonius the view that the philosopher was the only orator.  


Leonardo da Vinci became one of the greatest artists of all time because of his mentor Andrea del Verrecchio whom Leonardo surpassed, that upon looking at one of Leonardo's paintings of an angel, his mentor dropped his paintbrush and vowed never to paint again, because he felt his work was inferior to that of his student. Michelangelo was mentored by Lorenzo de Medici, the patriach of the richest and most powerful family in Florence, also referred to as "Lorenzo The Magnificent" or il Magnifico, while GianLorenzo Bernini, the greatest artist of all time who had the most beautiful mind, and is responsible Rome's current appearance, was mentored by Pope Urban VIII himself who made the utterance to Bernini: "You are made for Rome, and Rome is made for you."


But how about those who have no connections or access to mentors?  How about someone who has lost it all perhaps through a bad divorce, or illness or some unexpected tragedy that wiped out all the hard earned savings, and now that person has to start at the very bottom?


Texas billionaire Ross Perot answers that question by saying, "One brilliant idea can make you live like a king, for the rest of your life."   Add Comments>>    








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