by Max Brantley
The New York Times has a handy infographic in which you can plug in your family income to determine in which percentile you fall, not just nationally, but by state and metro area. Nationwide, the top 1 percent make more than $383,000. But you can be a 1 percenter in Arkansas as a whole with family income of $254,000. In the Little Rock metro area, $309,000 in family income makes you a 1 percenter.
For more sobering information, plug in some random numbers in the chart to see how little many get by on. For example, in Arkansas, 43 percent have family income — family income — below $30,000 a year. You're in the upper third of all Arkansas families if you and your spouse make $50,000 or more.
AND SPEAKING OF INCOME INEQUALITY: The Times' conservative op-ed columnist Ross Douthat has a pretty good one on how the U.S. economic model moved toward higher productivity and greater corporate efficiency, with some painful results for the working class. This is what Bain Capital did. It was no job creator of any magnitude, but that wasn't its purpose, profits were. This generally was a good thing, Douthat argues. But he at least has a dose of compassion missing from Mitt Romney.
Still, just because the private equity revolution was necessary doesn’t mean that it was an unmitigated good. And for Mitt Romney to frame criticisms of Bain as just “the bitter politics of envy,” as he did last week, displays a tone-deafness that could cost him the presidency. No one — and certainly no politician — who has profited so immensely from an age of insecurity should ever appear to be lecturing the people who’ve lost out.