Billionaire Sam Zell: “The One Percent Work Harder”

Sam Zell (born Samuel Zielonka) is one of the richest men in the United States. He has made billions of dollars since the founding of his private investment firms in the 1960s, which have focused mainly on building real estate-related businesses in international markets. A controversial figure, he recently appeared on CNN to offer his viewpoint on the perceived negative attitudes being directed towards the so-called ‘one percent’.

Among some of his preposterous claims during this interview was that ‘anger towards the rich is like the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany’ and that the ‘one percent work harder’ and should be ’emulated and not envied’. Unfortunately, Mr. Zell does not realize that a full-time minimum wage earner is not going to see a significant financial improvement by clocking an additional 10 hours a week, or that a salaried employee who “works harder” is not going to see an extra dime in their paycheck. Furthermore, the quest towards becoming obscenely wealthy tends to disproportionately favor those who follow only a few narrowly defined career paths.

With few exceptions, gargantuan monetary rewards in modern western societies are obtained largely through inheritances, information technology entrepreneurship, real estate development, energy and resource exploitation, or working with Wall Street or “The City” (of London) affiliated “financial engineering” firms.

Mr. Zell’s own Equity Group Investments closely follows this formula, as his businesses have mainly been affiliated with real estate. He is oblivious to the fact that in most other professions, regardless of whether they require many years of education and training, people will indeed earn a comparatively modest income no matter how hard they work.

I can guarantee you that a financial engineer who spends the majority of his day number-crunching in a comfortable office, earning $1 million dollars a year in various compensation packages, is not working any harder than an ACTUAL engineer who diligently works in all sorts of adverse weather conditions to help build or repair bridges and tunnels for 1/10th (or less) of the annual pay.

This article first appeared on Ingenious Press. Follow us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.