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A Single Hedge-Fund Hustler Makes More Than 85,000 Teachers: Why Are Our Priorities So Messed Up?

This obscene distribution of income is what we get for failing to rein in Wall Street.


Why is America’s distribution of income so colossally obscene? You have only to look at  Forbes most recent listing of the top 40 hedge fund moguls – men who, like Pharaohs, sit on top of our income pyramid. Together their personal income from hedge fund hustling was $12.8  billion in 2011.

The top hedge fund guru, Raymond Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, hauled in $3 billion, which comes to a whopping $1,442,308 an HOUR, (assuming he worked 40 hours a week for 52 weeks.)

It would take the typical U.S. family 29.2 YEARS to earn as much as Mr. Dalio earned in one HOUR.

How much is $3 billion per year?

It's hard to wrap one's head around a number as large as a billion. Here's some context...

  • That’s as much as 60,673 typical U.S. families earn: Just think about that for a moment. One person earns as much as sixty thousand hard working middle class families.

  • That’s enough to hire 85,911 entry level teachers: While we’re laying off teachers right and left to close budgets that were destroyed by the Wall Street crash, Wall Street’s top hedge fund manager earns as much in one year as  tens of thousands of entry level teachers who on average earn $34,920 a year. That what we get for failing to rein in Wall Street.

  • That’s enough to wipe out the student loan debts for 120,000 graduates. The average loan burden for graduating students is now $25,000. One year of income from Mr. Dalio could wipe-out the  entire average student debt of 120,000 graduates.

  • That’s enough to wipe out the negative equity of 46,153 average homeowners: Today there are approximately, 11.1 million homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than the home is worth. The average negative equity is $65,000. The top hedge fund guru’s yearly income would cover the  negative equity of 46,153 of those homes. And the irony is that Wall Street crash is directly responsible for the creation of the housing bubble and the crash of home value.

  • That’s more than the Gross Domestic Product of the 5 poorest African nations combined: The following countries have a combined GDP of less than $3 billion as of 2010; Liberia, Seychelles, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe. Together these five nations have a population of 6.3 million. One American equals 6.3 million Africans? 

  • That’s enough to feed 62 million hungry school children for a year: Our obscene distribution of income becomes even more obscene when compared to world hunger. What a top hedge fund manager makes in one year could feed  61.9 million school children from all over the world for one year. What he makes in one HOUR is enough to provide a nutritious meal to 29,748 hungry kids every day for one YEAR.

So what’s a Hedge Fund?

No, it’s not a wholesale gardening business. Hedge funds are exclusive investment funds for the very wealthy and for large institutional investors. It’s for people who believe that they are entitled to earn a much higher return than the rest of us. Hedge fund managers usually earn a 2 percent fee each year on all the money that is invested plus 20 percent of the profits.

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