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American Success: The Real Story, Not Inequality

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Forbes Magazine released its list of the 400 richest Americans. For the past 33 years, I have followed this list as a source of inspiration. I am in awe of those who have inherited money and have used it to build their wealth into larger fortunes. However, politicians act as though those same rich Americans from 1981 are hogging up all the money. The percentage of income growth is going to the top 10 percent; they are not the same rich Americans from 1981. Instead of allowing it to be a source of scorn, we should cheer those who are born without a silver spoon, yet create wealth with nine zeroes in net worth, because it is never done in a vacuum; wealth creates opportunities.


The Young and Rich (Self-Made)

In fact, the ladder of success is alive and well in America. An example of success is Elizabeth Holmes, age 30. She is the youngest woman to become a self-made billionaire, and to grace the cover of Forbes’s 33rd annual edition. Not bad for someone who dropped out of Stanford to start a blood testing company; turned out to be a smart idea. There are 26 other newcomers on the list as well, and they could all take a subway train and not be bothered (no one would recognize them).

The concept reminds me of a time when I was in Paris. I was staying at a famous hotel and so was Madonna. Her people were running around everywhere, paparazzi was everywhere, and one day, there was a huge crowd around the elevator waiting for Madonna to come down. As I looked on, David Rockefeller was standing next to me and no one recognized him. I do not think people realize all the new businesses and services in their lives that are generating new wealth for the nation like WhatsApp, Rockstar Energy, and Uber, just to name a few.

Success is alive and well in America, but it could be much greater if one is allowed to work without the high taxes, regulations, and divisive leadership. With that said, the fourth quarter is shaping up to be formidable.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

American businesses are betting this will be a huge Christmas season. Many retailers are increasing holiday hirers from last year. Macy’s alone is hiring 86,000 seasonal hires, a little more than in it did in 2013. Other businesses have joined in announcing an increase in holiday hires from Kohl’s to UPS and GameStop (which was supposed to be out of business by now).


One thing seems clear, the momentum is building, as the increase in spending in August was 17 times the rate in July, as consumers spent $60.4 billion by dipping into savings.

Consumers Stepping Up?Increase in WagesIncrease in Spending

In addition to signs, wages might be higher going into Christmas, and retailers should expect the “must-have toy” this season, a Snow Glow Elsa Doll at $39.91. Moreover, they should be prepared to ride the “Frozen” hysteria by getting parents into the stores, or by clicking away to stuff those stockings.

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