It starts by putting to rest the notion that hedge fund elites are just like any other. They are not. They make more money than everyone else, including our top movie stars and athletes...and they pay lower taxes.
While working on my next book on financial elites, we dredged up a variety of “Top Ten Income Lists” (from sources like Forbes and Equilar) for just about every kind of high-rolling celebrity and CEO imaginable. Here are previews:
- Oprah led the pack by hauling in an incredible $290 million in 2010.
- U2 at $190 million was the top pop musical group.
- Leonardo DiCaprio ($77 million) is the leading Hollywood star.
- Tiger Woods ($75 million) remains the highest paid athlete even though he doesn’t play much golf these days.
- Half of the highest paid non-financial CEOs are in the entertainment business, led by Phillipe Dauman of Viacom ($84.5 million).
- Only six out of the 100 highest income Americans on these lists are women.
You also might find it interesting that the top Wall Street bankers are keeping a low-income profile these days. Maybe it’s an attempt to avoid stricter regulatory curbs on their financial casinos. Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase led the bank/insurance top 10 list with an income of $20 million (which, by the way, is half as much as Glenn Beck’s 2010 income). Lloyd “Doing God’s Work” Blankfein of Goldman Sachs was 10th on the banker list with an income of $14.1 million.
All in all, we’re talking about serious money --- except for the fact that hedge funds make 100 times more than bankers.