TODAY CO-HOST MATT LAUER: Do you feel like you're working harder and harder nowadays just to stay financially afloat while fat cats get richer and richer? It's not just a feeling, and you're not alone. The story now from from CNBC's Scott Cohn.
View video here."Fat cats," Matt? Like morning-show hosts pulling in $13 million a year?
RICHARD DAVID STORY: They're looking for that one perfect bottle of wine. They're looking for that one perfect not hotel room, not suite, that one perfect villa. And they're extremely demanding right now.After a couple average-folks-in-the-street comments, Cohn resumed his kvetch.
COHN: They can afford to be, with a record stock market, and hedge funds creating a new crop of billionaires. But then, there's the rest of us.
COHN: Not only are the rich getting richer, they're leaving everyone else behind. In fact the last time the rich were this much richer than everyone else . . . was the Great Depression.Ooh, scary. But what's the relevance? Are most of us in danger of hitting the soup line anytime soon? Cohn then passed along the finding of a study from perhaps America's most liberal university, Berkeley.
COHN: A University of California study shows the top 1% of Americans now make 22% of the nation's income, their biggest piece of the pie since 1929, while middle-class Americans, by and large, are stuck, rising energy prices canceling out any increase in wages.I couldn't substantiate Cohn's claim. I did find this recent column describing a Berkeley study reporting that the richest 1% garner 17% of the income. In any case, Cohn failed to mention that that same richest 1% also pay . . . 36.9% of federal income taxes, and that the bottom 50% pay 3.3% (earning 13.4%).
"Work hard and play by the rules"? Wasn't that Bill Clinton's middle-class mantra? Not surprising Greenstein should be parroting it. After all, in 1994 Clinton appointed him to the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. Of course Cohn didn't bother to identify the Center's liberal orientation. What are the odds "Today" would have on a representative of, say, the Heritage Foundation without tagging it "conservative"?Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org