What do one percenters say about the rest of us?
April 22, 2016 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Those of us who are not in the one-percent class sometimes say snarky things about our socioeconomic betters. Apart from Mitt Romney's infamous 47-percent gaffe and capitalist generalizations about success and poverty, are there any other nonfiction sources that shed light on the American elite's attitudes and beliefs about those of us who inhabit other social strata? What are they saying?
posted by A. Davey to Society & Culture (18 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
[The question asks for sources, not anecdata.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:52 AM on April 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

John Oliver recently did a piece on how obnoxious and elitist the New York Yankees' "Legends Club" seating is. Much of it would be relevant, but the money quote comes in at 2:05 where the Yankees' COO says that the problem with reselling tickets is that how awful it is for rich people to have to sit with fans who don't really belong there. Earlier in the piece, a sales director for the Legends Club pushes the appeal of not sharing a common entrance with regular fans. Less of a general thing than you might be seeking, but it still shows how pervasive this kind of looking-down-your-nose-at-the-poors can be.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:54 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I read a longform article that served as a summary of this book, which I think would do a great job of helping to answer this question, OP - Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:18 AM on April 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

Quote from politican running for office in 2008 clinging to guns or religion.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:29 AM on April 22, 2016 [7 favorites]

UK. Tory MP Alan Duncan recently called the non-rich low achievers.
posted by popcassady at 9:34 AM on April 22, 2016

This is focused a little more on taxes, philanthropy, and attitudes towards government, but this is one of the very few sociological surveys of the attitudes of the super-wealthy (specifically the 1%) and has some of what you're after: Wealthy Americans, Philanthropy, and the Common Good.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:51 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

You may find some material of interest in Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland (now a Canadian cabinet member). The book is based on interviews with many 1%s.
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:57 AM on April 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

Doesn't directly answer your question, but related: Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans. "We report the results of a pilot study of the political views and activities of the top 1 percent or so of US wealth-holders. We find that they are extremely active politically and that they are much more conservative than the American public as a whole with respect to important policies concerning taxation, economic regulation, and especially social welfare programs."

But hey, there's this:"Our wealthy respondents expressed awareness of the very high levels of inequality of income and wealth in presentday America, and they favored wages and salaries for various occupations that would make the over-all distribution more equal."

Oh, but there's this: "But—by large margins—they opposed governmental redistribution of income or wealth."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:21 AM on April 22, 2016

An article that uses the study Mr.Know-it-some links to as a source.
posted by Shanda at 10:40 AM on April 22, 2016

This Cracked article includes quotes in making their points.

My favorite: "I've been on food stamps and welfare. Did anybody help me out? No."

-- Craig T. Nelson
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:18 AM on April 22, 2016 [13 favorites]

The Wall Street Journal editorial page uses the term "lucky duckies" to refer to people whose incomes are so low that they are not required to pay income tax.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:18 PM on April 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

In The Jinx, Bob Durst describes meeting his late former spouse/probable victim's family as "“Bob is forced to spend time with the average American family. Bob is supposed to be polite and cooperative and pleasant and engage in the same conversations that they are, and I just couldn’t do that.” It's not entirely clear whether he's commenting on himself as an admittedly difficult individual, or the mundanity of discussing articles from Yankee magazine, or both. It's about 14 minutes into Episode 2.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:09 PM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Kemper Freeman, the developer of Bellevue Square (a high-end mall in the Seattle area), had this to say about his mall versus one he perceives as being for the poors:

"When you walk through the [Southcenter] mall, the way the customer dresses just to shop there — the light blue and pink hair curlers, the shoes that flop, flop, flop along — it's a completely different customer." source

He's also famously campaigned against better public transit because he's afraid it will bring plebs to his mall.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 2:08 PM on April 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

Leona Helmsley. Her most infamous quote: "only the little people pay taxes"
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 9:38 PM on April 22, 2016

...and when she died in 2007 she left millions to her dog, Trouble.
posted by Rash at 10:11 PM on April 22, 2016

In the UK the complaints against tax cuts for the rich have been called the "politics of envy"
posted by JonB at 11:53 PM on April 22, 2016

CBC radio podcast The Current a couple of weeks ago: "Studies reveal super-rich suffer from anxiety, lack of empathy."
posted by Frenchy67 at 9:00 AM on April 23, 2016

« Older Simple time-card programs for Mac   |   Is Ting, Google Voice, and BYOD the best for me? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.