Rich Americans Are Far Richer Than Rich Foreigners

If you thought America's rich were doing well for America, try comparing them to France and Germany's rich.

For an interesting look at exactly what we mean when we say "rich Americans," head over to Felix Salmon's blog at Reuters. Salmon has been toying with the World Top Incomes Database in order to ascertain just how much more money America's wealthy have compared to wealthy people in other places. The answer? A lot.

We told you back in March that the 400 richest Americans are now richer than the bottom 50 percent of the country combined. But as you can see below, even if you widen that initial 400 to include the entire top 1 percent of earners, the very rich in America still take in nearly one-fifth of the income share. That's far more than the leading 1 percent in Germany, even back in 1998.

Garden variety anti-Americanism says the excesses of the United States are much worse than the excesses of, say, Europe. It turns out there may be some truth to that, at least where money is concerned.