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Old 23 May 2018, 03:48 PM
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Errata Errata is offline
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 13,201

The 9.9 percent thing is a stretch. They combine a lot of different factors, but the people who are in the top 10% of all of those things aren't all the same 10%. There is some correlation, but it's loose enough that the privileged group in various categories extends way beyond 10% of the population. Also, it changes across a person's life.

One of the core metrics they used was personal wealth, but middle class people's personal wealth fluctuates tremendously according to age, which the article didn't address at all. Typical middle class people have virtually no wealth at younger ages, often negative from student loans. Then it increases as they approach retirement age, then it starts to decline again after they actually retire.

So a lot of those top 10% of wealth households are just the ones with 50+ year olds saving up for retirement and who are 20+ years into paying down their mortgage. It's not some elite parallel species from everyone else. A lot more than 10% of the population might live in such a household at some point in their life, but most of them will not occupy that threshold for their entire life.

The top 1% metric is much more inflexible, because that $10 million threshold is really hard to achieve in a single lifetime, starting from $0, without extraordinary success or a serious intergenerational head start.

Also, their political take on how the top 9% run interference for the 0.1% is living in an alternate political reality, when the kinds of educated elite people in the most expensive locations that he's talking about are not the core Republican base, particularly at this moment in history.
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