Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Lifestyle Inequality: The Habits of American Elites by Mark Penn

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
By MARK PENN with E. KINNEY ZALESNE
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published July 16, 2009

There’s always been lots of talk in this country about income inequality, but very little about lifestyle disparities, differences which are pulling American elites farther and farther away from mainstream America.

These disparities can be as profound as any class distinctions related directly to income; they go beyond having a bigger house, a nicer car or fancier vacations. America has always frowned on the idea of an “aristocracy,” but American elites today are increasingly creating their own separate world of activities, removed from the everyday pursuits of average Americans.

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Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: The Impressionable Elites Get Snookered

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
By MARK PENN with E. KINNEY ZALESNE
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published December 19, 2008

For most of this century, con men and hucksters preyed on the uneducated and the elderly who couldn’t read the fine print. Some still are.

But now we learn that the real mother lode for con artists is not composed of uninformed dowagers who were left an estate they don’t know how to manage, but rather the Impressionable Elites* of country clubs, and the rarefied hedge fund managers of Wall Street and Greenwich.

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Politico: Most affluent voters key to Obama sweep

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published November 11, 2008

Barack Obama promised he would lower taxes for 95 percent of Americans and presumably raise them for the 5 percent who benefited most under President Bush’s tax policies. But, remarkably, the most affluent 5 percent supported Obama and that was perhaps the key to his victory last week.

This group — and the rise of a new elite class of voters — is at the heart of the fast-paced changes in demographics affecting the political, sociological and economic landscape of the country. While there has been some inflation over the past 12 years, the exit poll demographics show that the fastest growing group of voters in America has been those making over $100,000 a year in income. In 1996, only 9 percent of the electorate said their family income was that high. Last week it had grown to 26 percent — more than one in four voters. And those making over $75,000 are up to 15 percent from 9 percent. Put another way, more than 40 percent of those voting earned over $75,000, making this the highest-income electorate in history.

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Politico: Young moderates – A fragile coalition

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published October 28, 2008

This election promises to offer a fundamental realignment that could stand for decades to come as young moderate voters become the driving force for change in the presidential race. These more socially tolerant, opportunity-oriented voters are the ones likely to put Barack Obama in the White House next week.

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Politico: What’s ‘in’ is now ‘out’

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published October 14, 2008

As Monty Python used to say, “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition” — which is another way of saying that no one expects the unexpected. And recent unanticipated political and financial events are a good reminder that everything could change in one fell swoop.

In a sense, the worsening financial crisis should come as no surprise — hedge fund managers I’ve met with over the past year and a half predicted almost perfectly what would happen. And Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first presidential candidate to warn repeatedly of financial danger while the president, Treasury secretary and Federal Reserve chairman all downplayed it.

Now the voters have shifted in Barack Obama’s direction, largely because he seems better able than John McCain to tackle these types of complex problems but also because the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, performed so well during times of economic concern. In such situations, voters now instinctively reach for a Democrat rather than a Republican. And it has shaken up the presidential race.

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