How Today’s Rich Families Are Different

By Pratik Chougule

Most Americans want to amass a fortune and pass it down to their children. Only a small subset of the wealthy actually make this dream a reality. Well under a third of Americans today expect to receive an inheritance, and just 5 percent of retirees count inheritance money as a major source of income. But among those who do anticipate an inheritance, nearly 3 in 10 expect to receive over $250,000 in assets, with heirs in the top 7 percent of estates getting about 50 percent of total bequests. This is a category that includes the 22 new billionaires who joined the Forbes 400 list in 2016—more than two-thirds of whom inherited their wealth—as well as five of the 14 youngest billionaires, who also inherited their fortunes.

Inequalities in family wealth are hardly new to the American experience. But to an unprecedented degree, the issue of family inheritance portends political conflict.

High net worth families—those positioned to pass down millions of dollars in assets to their children—are different not only in their means, but also in their outlooks. More so than in previous eras, families who are poised to build and maintain intergenerational wealth are defined by a single characteristic: a penchant for mobility. They are distinct in their willingness to move their livelihoods and their assets in search of opportunity.

The importance of mobility in intergenerational wealth can be seen in three ways: the rise of immigrant wealth, cosmopolitan attitudes of the rich, and the growing importance of transnational succession planning.

Against this backdrop, populists and nationalists may seize the political moment on a wave of class resentment. But in enacting their agenda, they face formidable odds against a financial elite that has the means and the will to leave the country if it undermines their interest.

Immigrant Wealth

Family dynasties invoke images of European aristocrats and Persian Gulf monarchs. To a remarkable degree, however, family wealth accumulation is an American phenomenon. The United States has been the world’s largest economy since the 1870s and experienced seven-fold growth in real per capita income through the 20th century. The world’s wealthiest families are largely those who had the foresight to immigrate to the United States and give their children an opportunity to prosper in the country’s wealth boom. Today, more than a third of the world’s wealth is in the United States. The country has produced:

41 percent of the world’s millionaires, including the most new millionaires;
Fifty percent of the world’s ultra-high net worth individuals (more than $50 million in assets);
30 percent of the world’s billionaires; and
43 percent of the world’s tech billionaires.

The phenomenon of immigrant wealth is underscored by the disproportionate gains immigrants themselves have made within the broader “nation of immigrants.” America’s rich is no longer dominated by the progenies of historically ascendant groups. The “Boston elite” of the 19th century and the New York and Philadelphia Episcopalian establishments …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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A Boy’s Sweet Life In Italy

By Rod Dreher

Lucas at the Campo di Siena, at night

Today Lucas and I woke up at noon, shocked that we had slept so long. Jet lag is a cruel master. Like the Huns threatening a city, the caffeine headache was at the gates of my noggin, so we quickly dressed and hustled up the street to the nearest pastry shop. Alas, they did not serve Italian coffee there, but said they could make me an Americano with their coffee pot. Anything, Signora, anything!

Well. Italian-style coffee is the best in the world, but Italians doing American coffee is like Michiganders doing Tex-Mex. They just don’t have it in them.

We went after that to the museum of the Palazzo Publico, the city hall of Siena, which, when its construction was begun in the 13th century, meant it was the governing palace of the city-state known as the Republic of Siena. Upstairs there are wall murals and other treasures. The best-known is the Allegory of Good and Bad Government, a series of 14th century paintings meant to demonstrate how a city will prosper if governed virtuously, but will come to ruin if governed by vice. Here is the symbol of the Tyrant who governs a vicious city:

For me, it was impossible to look upon this without thinking about Donald Trump. One has learned to expect very little good from this man, but his disgusting tweeting about the facelift of a TV presenter was a new low. It is hard even now to believe that the United States faces so many challenges, but the man who leads it is obsessed with tweeting trash-talk about a TV personality. Character really is destiny. I wish to associate myself with what Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote about this nonsense today. Excerpt:

And Trump has a sense of what [his populist supporters] do care about. Instead of working the phones, steadying nervous legislators, or using the bully pulpit for health reform, he spent some of the crucial time before a final Senate vote tweeting about how Mika Brzezinski rang in the new year by bleeding from her face at his private Florida club. Finally! A new lead image for Drudge.

At least for now, while they have an easily distracted man in the Oval Office, and a Congress that is committed to the usual Republican priorities — tax cuts! — the populist Right is happy enough to see the president use the vast power and prestige of his office to fight the media. It’s a vision of the presidency that’s little more than Sean Hannity’s job, with a few executive orders and judicial appointments on top. Trump is, as much as he can, setting aside the whole responsibility of governance in order to prioritize the Right’s feud with what it sees as the real throne of power, the media. Instead of capturing the media, the presidency channels the Right’s rage at it. Who could possibly care about the executive and legislative branches of the most powerful country on earth? …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Syria’s chemical attack may be on hold, but the crisis continues

By Ahmad Tarakji Late Monday night, the White House released a statement warning of “potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.” …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Syria’s chemical attack may be on hold, the regime still needs to go

By Ahmad Tarakji Late Monday night, the White House released a statement warning of “potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.” …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Medicaid is at the heart of the health insurance debate

By Marc Siegel Back in 2008, pre ObamaCare, Oregon experimented with the effects of expanding Medicaid to a lottery group of lower income adults to assess the effects on health outcomes over two years. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Capital Punishment and Abortion are Separate Issues

By Emile Doak

Forty-five years ago yesterday, capital punishment was effectively abolished in the United States. In a contentious 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in Furman vs. Georgia that arbitrary and inconsistent application of the death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment, effectively invalidating state laws providing for the measure and reducing all existing death sentences to life imprisonment.

Of course, the decision was short-lived, as a mere four years later the Court reaffirmed the constitutionality of capital punishment in Gregg vs. Georgia. But the issue of capital punishment remains salient and controversial today, especially as it has become increasingly tied to another seminal cultural issue with roots in an early-1970s Supreme Court decision: abortion. Indeed, in pro-life circles, it’s become fashionable lately to pair opposition to abortion with equal condemnation of capital punishment. The tactical thinking, it seems, is that since these two life issues—abortion and capital punishment—are generally (but not always) opposed by partisans of different stripes, uniform opposition provides a shield against charges of partisanship.

The problem with equating capital punishment with abortion, though, is that it’s a false comparison. And, furthermore, equivocating the fundamental difference between the two clouds our national moral sensibility, effectively harming both the argument against abortion and against capital punishment.

The in vogue “consistent life ethic” argument goes something like this: Life begins at conception. Intentionally taking human life is wrong. Therefore, any intentional act that ends a human life is wrong, whether it’s through abortion or through a duly enacted punishment of the state. And since a primary function of government is to protect the lives of its citizens, the state should clearly prohibit all intentional killing—including both abortion and capital punishment.

But the argument, when taken to its logical conclusion, is far more radical than most “consistent life ethic” adherents would concede. For if the bedrock principle on which all pro-life arguments hinge is that “intentionally taking human life is wrong,” we’ve arrived in a pacifist utopia. This rules out many actions beyond just abortion and capital punishment that would not normally be lumped in with the pro-life cause, self-defense and (just) wars chief among them. It’s possible some “consistent life ethic” proponents would be willing to embrace this pacifist conclusion in theory—but doubtful in practice.

Instead, we must emphasize the moral—and, by extension, legal—distinction between innocent human life and guilty human life. The state has a duty to protect the lives of those within its sovereignty so long as they do not forfeit their innocence by, for example, taking or threatening the life of another, or enlisting in a foreign army.

It must be stressed that this innocent-guilty distinction is not a de facto argument for capital punishment. (Indeed, there are many signs that the American capital punishment system is broken and needs reform—or perhaps abolition.) There should be extreme scrutiny whenever the state exercises its awesome power to take human life, whether through the criminal justice system …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Susan Rice and her insinuating “Why me?” – maybe, just maybe, race and sex have nothing to do with it

By Steve Kurtz Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice recently hinted that racism and sexism may be part of the reason she’s getting so much attention for allegedly “unmasking” Trump associates during the 2016 Presidential campaign. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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