F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have once remarked to Ernest Hemingway: “The rich are different than you and me.” Hemingway’s Hemingway-esque reply was: “Yes, they have more money.”
For many of those on the positive side of the widening wealth gap, the rise of income inequality as a popular issue has caused them to take this idea to heart: That there but for the grace of God go they, and perhaps the system should be recalibrated to help those who need it. For a smaller group of the wealthy, however, calls for some of their vast wealth to be redistributed back to society have been–it seems–deeply hurtful. The last decade has seen a long list of some of our richest citizens making statements to the press that make them seem totally unaware that luck may have had something to do with their own success and that most poor people are poor not simply because they have not worked hard enough.
We’ve collected 32 of the most egregious quotes–from comparing being wealthy in today’s America to being a Jew in Nazi Germany (multiple people have said this!) to denying any obligation to give back to the society that’s made them billionaires–and we’re letting you decide which is the worst.
Each round of voting begins at 6:00 a.m. ET every day starting on Tuesday, September 8, and voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, September 14—and then we’ll know which of our wealthiest fellow citizens needs the biggest lesson in empathy.