Not so long ago, the image of American wealth was a heroic one, embodied by figures like Bill Gates and Jack Welch. Today it tends toward the corrupt or at least the hapless think Madoff, GM executives, Lehman Brothers. The economic problems of the wealthy have tracked pretty closely with their image problems. Stocks are way down, and the waning days of the 2009 tax season offer reason for one more headache: taxes on the rich won’t stay this low for very much longer. In 2011 the Bush tax cuts will expire, and President Obama plans to also close various loopholes. As Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director, delicately says of the rich, “We are asking them to pitch in a bit more.” The current moment has the feel of an inflection point for the American wealthy, like the stock-market crash of 1929 or the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
By David Leonhardt, April 12, 2009, NYT

Link to article