Friday, June 15, 2007

Savings from outsourcing goes to good cause

Forget about the $350 stilettos. Shoes with status these days come with $1,000 price tags. And $600 handbags have become so bourgeois. A-listers don't want to be seen with anything costing less than $5,000.

Montblanc recently sold a $700,000-plus pen just a few days after it showed up in the New York store. The pen, adorned with rubies, sapphires and diamonds, took 15 months to handcraft. At Cartier, $1 million to $2 million sales checks _ rare only a few years ago _ is occurring a couple times a month at its North American boutiques.

According to an analysis of the latest IRS tax data available by Prof. Emmanuel Saez, the University of California, Berkeley economist with Prof. Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics, those in the top tenth of a percent reported an average income of $5.6 million in 2005, up $908,000 from the prior year; the top one-hundredth of a percent had an average income of $25.7 million, up almost $4.4 million from the year before, according to the study.

Meanwhile, real reported income in the U.S. rose 3.4 percent in 2005 on average but the average income for those in the bottom 90 percent fell slightly compared with the year before, according to the study.

We can see why it is so important to business to keep workers' wages depressed by various means. It would be such a hardship for their CEO's not to be able to buy a $700,000 pen.

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