Billionaire CEO: The Poor Should Stop Whining
According to billionaire CEO Bud Konheim, the poor should stop complaining and realize “how lucky they are.”
Konheim, the chief executive and founder of luxury fashion brand Nicole Miller, took to the airwaves on Wednesday with a message for the 99 percent – you’d be considered wealthy in other parts of the world.
Too bad we live in the US, though.
“We’ve got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99 percent of the rest of the world,” Konheim said on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “So we’re talking about woe is me, woe is us, woe is this. The guy that’s making, oh my God, he’s making $35,000 a year, why don’t we try that out in India or some countries we can’t even name. China, anyplace, the guy is wealthy.”
There is certainly some truth to this argument. In the United States, the top 1 percent earn about $500,000 per year. Around the world, the top 1 percent of earners make an average of $34,000 per year. In China, the top 1 percent makes $91,000 or more. In India, the top 1 percent makes $87,000 or more.
Of course, $35,000 per year doesn’t make you wealthy in “99 percent of the rest of the world.” Even in China, a $35,000 per year salary would be right in the middle.
That’s great and all. If you had an American paycheck and the purchasing power of a Chinese or Indian resident. Unfortunately, $35,000 doesn’t even come close to wealthy in the US, where the median household income is over $40,000. Konheim should know, his fashion company sells $800 dresses and $250 clutches. It’s true that $35,000 would go a long way if you lived elsewhere, but in the US, it’s below average.
Perhaps the most ridiculous part of his statements was the piece about how the “poverty line is wealth in 99 percent of the rest of the world”. That’s just ridiculous. The poverty line isn’t $35,000, it’s $11,490 for a single adult and $15,510 for a two-person household. So, you know, thank your lucky stars that you would be rich in Somalia while you’re trying to support a two-person household on $15,000 a year in the US.