New Gilded Age

Louis Uchitelle profiles the voices of the new guilded age. Some, like Sanford Weill, aren't just richer than hell, they fully intend to be jerks about it. "We didn’t rely on somebody else to build what we built," he says at one point "and we shouldn’t rely on somebody else to provide all the services our society needs." Or there's Leo Hindrey who observes that Jerek "Deter makes an unbelievable amount of money, but you look at him and you say, 'Wow, I cannot find another ballplayer with that same set of skills." Others have their doubts:

A handful of critics among the new elite, or close to it, are scornful of such self-appraisal. “I don’t see a relationship between the extremes of income now and the performance of the economy,” Paul A. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve Board chairman, said in an interview, challenging the contentions of the very rich that they are, more than others, the driving force of a robust economy.

Right. The economy grew at a perfectly rapid clip in a broad-based manner in the 1950s and 60s.