I did not grow up with money. But I did work in finance for years and I have known a number of people with significant wealth. I also live in an old money town, Charlottesville, Virginia.
There is an adage about significant wealth which I think holds generally true and that is that “old money” is smaller than “new money.”
Often with older money there is some patriarch a few generations ago who made a pile of cash in some endeavor, rubber, banking, textiles, whatever. And sure, properly taken care of this wealth should grow from generation to generation. And this sometimes happens.
But never underestimate the destructive ability of an idiot son or grandson or grandsons given too much responsibility and too much money. Over time fortunes very often erode. Not always, but often. And they are always split up through the generations.
Of course this assumes a capitalist, or close to capitalist system, not a crony capitalist one like we have now.
In an earlier post we mentioned how Washington DC has thrown in with Wall Street. And why not? That’s where the money is, where it continues to flow, and through our current system of crony capitalism will continue to flow until people say “enough.”
On February 3, 1913 Delaware ratified the 16th Amendment to the Constitution which created the income tax. It was a dark day for America yet some see it as a day to be celebrated, or ahem, “commemorated.” Professor Ajay K. Mehrotra at Indiana University is one of these people. In an essay in Bloomberg he explains to us that the income tax was not born from any effort “radically” redistribute of wealth, but in fact from a high minded progressive effort more interested in “balanc(ing) fiscal duties and civic responsibilities.”
The federal government has just decided that poverty for family of 4 in New York City means an income of up to $37,500, not $22,500. Quite a leap. As before, the figure excludes earned income tax credit cash checks from the government and also medical and other non-cash assistance.