Always beware of rich guys who insist they have all the answers - and who also insist that the answers are not complicated. Like, well, Zell. This morning he's on CNBC as a cast of mostly slobbery anchors treat his most every word as if it's been carried down from the mountain. One of his main points is remarkably on point with Romney's 47 percent solution - that, in effect, people who don't make it only have themselves (and those nasty government handouts) to blame. "Why is it always assumed that if someone doesn't succeed it's because he can't, not because he doesn't want to?" he says. Here's a snippet:
The U.S. has gone through two recoveries. The 1.2 million households whose incomes put them in the top 1 percent of the U.S. saw their earnings increase 5.5 percent last year, according to estimates released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau. Earnings fell 1.7 percent for the 96 million households in the bottom 80 percent -- those that made less than $101,583. The recovery that officially began in mid-2009 hasn't arrived in most Americans' paychecks. In 2010, the top 1 percent of U.S. families captured as much as 93 percent of the nation's income growth, according to a March paper by Emmanuel Saez, a University of California at Berkeley economist who studied Internal Revenue Service data. The earnings gap between rich and poor Americans was the widest in more than four decades in 2011, Census data show, surpassing income inequality previously reported in Uganda and Kazakhstan. The notion that each generation does better than the last -- one aspect of the American Dream -- has been challenged by evidence that average family incomes fell last decade for the first time since World War II.
*Bill McBride at Calculated Risk has a great rundown of Zell's not-so-wonderful forecasting record.