The average American, the median, has a household income right around $50,000 a year. Median household wealth peaked at $152,950. The average wealthiest person in the country, if that's a concept that makes any sense, has as much money as more than 27,000 average Americans did at the peak of the housing bubble. That's a decent-sized town!
But this chasm of inequality isn't just a matter of the 400 wealthiest people in the country. In New York:
The wealthiest fifth of Manhattanites made more than 40 times what the lowest fifth reported, a widening gap (it was 38 times, the year before) surpassed by only a few developing countries, including Namibia and Sierra Leone.This is what decades of relentless class war from above produce: Manhattan is in competition with Namibia for where inequality will be worse, and a few multibillionaires have enough money to influence policy to their own liking (as, for instance, Bill Gates has done on education) regardless of what experts or voters think is a good idea. The fact that this few people have this much money and this much power is the reason there's still even a debate over tax rates for the wealthiest—because just a few hundred people have the power to break our country.