the

The One Percent - Documentary

do you hear me yeah what's it sound like

sounds good

can you see anything where's the mic

there

okay all right we good good what are we

going to say if I get buzzed for the

camera we're going to say that your

foreign exchange student no will say

that we're making a video for my

father's birthday and we wanted to

surprise you know when I go okay I

checked Inca position be read it's not

dead on Jana hey Dad how you doing you

may not film this would you feel

approachable yes you may not do it you

just don't plug on it go on like all

just go play golf

you cannot film this I'm serious

here yes is my son Tommy hello good to

see him Jamie Johnson that's my dad am i

a violation of the dress long is this

why you're flying well this is so

exciting you know I don't think I've

ever seen people playing croquet and

all-white before well what do you mean

that is beautiful this is for the club

paper yes

great I'm gonna do my best

wonderful shot are there teams

yes don't you play I wish I did

well you should get your father to teach

you he's good he's hiding that from you

he's hiding a lot of Finch in Lynette

but it's an interesting game because you

can use other people's bowls what it

sure now kill kill are you in college I

graduated from New York University and

I've been working on documentary films

how really yes

what kind of documents are you doing

actually it's about wealth and issues of

social class and things like that in

America

you cannot film this I'm serious

all right I think you're being

irrational I think you could be

interesting go home

this is really what makes a family great

the center of a family what I see is a

white beautiful sphere of pulsing energy

inside of which all of you sit and

you're all atoms growing energetically

helped by each other and that I know I'm

a lucky guy puts out energy doesn't my

great-grandfather started the Johnson

and Johnson pharmaceutical company and

my father inherited a fortune worth a

billion dollars people of this character

are in that first circle every year my

family meets with an advisor to discuss

our finances when you're looking and he

usually says the same thing we keep

getting richer and frankly if they are

in that first circle in fact our

family's fortune is growing faster than

ever we're part of a small number of

American families that own most of the

country's well having so much in the

hands of so few can't be good for

America it's a problem I've asked my

father about before but he has no

patience for it I can't I can't tell you

I can't tell you how you know how to

solve these problems I gotta go I gotta

go

not that we're done dad just wait it I

have more questions

why no I'm not an expert on these issues

what do you want from me it's obvious

that my dad doesn't want to talk to me

and I think I know why

when he was my age my father made a

movie about poverty in Africa I know his

family severely reprimanded him for

making his film and that's probably why

he's so reluctant to participate in mind

for them shining a light on the extreme

gap between rich and poor hit too close

to home the wealth gap is hard for rich

people to acknowledge anywhere in the

world especially when it's in their own

backyard today in America the disparity

between the haves and have-nots is worse

than it's ever been

now the top 1% of Americans like my

family and me own roughly 40% of the

country's wealth and we share an

aggregate net worth that is greater than

the net worth of the bottom 90% of

individuals combined even though the

last 28 years have brought America the

largest economic boom in the history of

Finance most of the rewards have gone to

those who are already at the top of the

ladder and they still do

average members of the 1% now in over a

million dollars a year while a majority

of Americans earn close to 35,000 which

is what the average CEO earns for less

than one day of work

no one has watched the rich get richer

more closely than my family's financial

adviser who manages the fortunes of some

of the richest families in the country

Jimmy I I'm not against you making the

movie the movie is fine for you to make

it's good for you to have something to

do with your life and it's a good

project but you don't know what the hell

you're talking about you have no idea

the scope of the impact of what you're

saying is and before you know it it has

had untended cause of courses which you

can't even imagine and it becomes bigger

than you ever thought and

it's taken forever to get to where we

are you don't need to go blowing up the

applecart you know it just it's crazier

just I hate to see you doing this to

yourself what about the facts and

figures stuff I'm talking about those

sort of ebbs data you're making a fool's

argument and it just depresses me to see

you're doing it and you should just do a

little bit more work on

I don't think Brian does really want me

to do more work when I asked him for the

names of other clients I could talk to

he refused to give them to me

so without his support I'm using my

family name to enroll in one of the most

exclusive wealth conferences in America

where the wealthy go to discuss

strategies for keeping their fortunes

growing the average net worth of the

families that attend our conference is

confidential but it's a pretty large

number there are multi-billion dollar

families represented a number of them as

a matter of fact according to Forbes

magazine we don't ask for financial

statements of course when people

register but we do query them to make

sure that they are a sophisticated

qualified family and in order to attend

I would say the average in the group

today probably around three to four

hundred million certainly some smaller

than that and obviously a number of them

much much larger I mean there are people

who are looking for funding for their

projects that would kill to get into

this meeting that's right absolutely and

we make sure they don't get to get in

my goal as I get older for the families

I serve the few that I'm still

consulting to is to see if I can help

them get to their fifth generations in

good shape and go on from there family

wealth the book you have in front of you

is about the first three generations

from the dozens of families that would

turn up at this conference in in the

early 1990s there are hundreds of

families here today and if you looked

into the numbers that represent private

wealth in a large enough aggregation

that you'd have a family office I'm sure

it has to be in the many trillions of

dollars there is much greater good done

by the people with the wealth in

creating jobs creating business

opportunities and in philanthropy than

otherwise and I would say that it makes

more sense to me to encourage business

ownership encourage wealthy to to

generate that wealth so that wealth can

then be shared rather than take it from

individuals to then redistribute it

through social policy and transfer

policies of Medicare Social Security et

cetera

I hope that didn't come out sounding

crass by the way

you know what I mean it's like I don't

want to sound okay didn't want to talk

about it's like don't take the money

from me

in the early 80s the American economy

was rebuilt around the interests of big

business and wealthy individuals with

the idea that their success would

eventually benefit everybody this

trickle-down policy was the brainchild

of the economist Milton Friedman who got

a Nobel Prize for it in 1976 and now his

ideas are more popular than ever thank

you all very much it's a an honor for me

to be here to pay tribute to a hero of

freedom Milton Friedman he is used a

brilliant mind to advance a moral vision

I've studied you know the basics of your

theories and I've read about you in high

school

economics textbooks now tell me company

you say you've read some of my work have

you in fact read capitalism and freedom

well school your assigned readings you

know what I mean and then they Xerox it

okay I'll go back and I'm just trying to

see what how much of a faker you are

actually since the seventies the gap

between the rich and poor is been grown

from what's happened at the level of

income of the poor it's risen but in

comparison to the sakura-san

very very people would it be better if

it hadn't risen at all

would it be better if you would kept to

difference the same but no growth in the

bottom well if we curtail the growth at

the top you'll kill the clothes at the

bottom but the engine will lead to the

miracles and we've seen that enables you

to have a television camera like that

that engine is ambition and drive to

become wealthy people say well isn't it

too selfish that you want to get ahead

now in a sense if you have a certain

talent in a free society you should have

the opportunity to discover what that

talent is

one has a knack for something and

develop that talent and by developing

your talent by trying to meet your goals

and ambitions not only helping yourself

you're helping others you might say I

came to the attention of top management

at a fairly young age as my father said

there is nothing wrong with nepotism as

long as you keep it within the family

this is a chateau a la France where do

some for entertaining for Forbes

international the Highlander is used two

or three nights a week by marking and

advertising sometimes you have to spend

money to make money

capitalism is I think a moral system and

this idea our popular culture you see in

every novel the business man's the heavy

and Hollywood the businessman and the

corporation are always the font of evil

but in the real world even if you have

an unpleasant personality even if you

are the kind of person that make babies

cry just out for yourself you're not

going to make make it unless you're

doing something for other people and

they're given all the flaws of human

nature the system has worked everybody

has a sinful view of making money our

stories that made the most money had the

happiest customers and best co-workers

they were always the most motivated and

there's a relationship between profits

and those things is that there's not a

cinema gwyn the first order was this

lunch room imagine a line straight back

and they see that extra part back there

that wasn't theirs window wasn't here

it's from here back to that wall and

over is about a hundred square feet with

me here here here to here here and have

a sliding window here couldn't let the

customers in right there was enough room

so everybody had to wait outside the

Xerox machine was there and I sold these

notebooks first day of business some guy

who was for Kurdistan cool country I

loved it before I opened up in the

middle of the night like at nine o'clock

he gave me a $50 job so I've loved the

Kurdish people ever since what's called

Kinkos because of my nickname because

they had this kinky here and if you

think of it

the first thing a baby learns is glue

whoo Gaga you think a good businesses

like Kodak Xerox Google people remember

strong constants that's why Kinkos was a

good name but really I had this big

curly curly hair before being called

Kenko I was pube head so I thought

Kinkos was better than pew bows do you

want to make hundreds of millions of

dollars on top of what you already have

yeah yes hell yes yeah more like a hell

of a lot more can you tell me about that

well one day I'd like to go to the moon

and look at the planet Earth and say uh

that's part of my portfolio it sounds

ridiculous but Paul and a few people

like him really do own the world's

portfolio and when you start to look

around the disparity is hard to miss you

know you hear get a belt I have a matter

of opportunity you're all this [ __ ] as

in the head they must go right through

the same neighborhoods out right through

they must don't go through the same

towns I go to they must know visit and

see the same team I visit on a daily

basis and they can't do that riding

around in a damn limo and a helicopter

wealth inequality is probably at an

all-time high in the United States we

have reached levels of inequality that

you've seen only in the oligarchy of

South America starting here with the

Tale of Two Cities what you have is a

level of concentration of wealth

probably never seen before in our

history

now of course you have tens of millions

of workers who can't live on what they

earn and they're earning less in

inflation-adjusted dollars and even 1973

countries like Peru or Venezuela

Colombia even Brazil there have been

armed rebellions going on

for decades now and even the sense of

frustration among the working class in

this country I would not rule out the

possibility of this kind of armed

rebellion in this country it's hard to

say why that particulate was shot but

you know it's a neighborhood where a lot

of things are changing where a lot of

people are upset where people have been

pushed out of their homes by real-estate

value not being able to pay the taxes

whatever else you know I've tried to

think about it I've tried to think about

if I were out there and someone else

burned here what would cause me to be

resentful or envious the south side of

Chicago is one of the poorest inner-city

communities in America but now rich

people are moving in and creating some

serious changes in the neighborhood

mister pants hey mister pants lyin mr.

pants pants mr. pants is my second

kitten I had a kitten growing up and

when I went to get King my first mister

pants my father told me he don't have to

buy the first kitten you see well I

walked in he came over and purred I was

a guy I want that one yeah first kid

nice I bought it well buy a condo is

kind of similar I walked into this room

and I said wow you know I've been in a

lot of the coolest houses in Chicago

I never seen a room like this let's get

this condo so I got with my dad and we

talked about it and I said wow I got

like run to an ATM and get the deposit

and whatever I was just freaked out

about 30 days later I owned the place

and I haven't regretted the transaction

since

it's a very thought-provoking place you

see the train go by and you're reminded

that there other places in the country

other than Chicago and you see what used

to be housing projects are suddenly

condos and you wonder what impact you're

having on the city and who lives here

who can afford to live here

and wouldn't be such a big deal if the

change weren't so drastic

so these buildings used to be public

housing now they're being taken condo

I'm sure you put in new windows and you

boost the place up a little but the fact

is that someone who is using the public

housing system lost his home for each

one of these units that's being created

it's happening too quick the new stores

and everything and the new houses is too

quick the subway right there all this is

I mean it's too quick as to is to uh to

make believe to be true because like

five years ago you would have never

dreamed that those nice condos will be

there and in a subway feeding overall I

think gentrification is a tool that

solidifies the stratification of classes

they're people who live in an area that

becomes a hundred percent people like

them

three big tools have been used in a lot

of areas first you build a big police

station secondly you tear out all the

basketball courts and lastly if there's

a local public school that poor people

tend to tear down the school they closed

three spoons

the school the high school and a baby

school why those three buildings I don't

know I guess they trying to push us half

the neighborhood

this is decent people living the project

they rent

keeping work or everybody ain't the

enemy hey what's happening yeah lives

here possibly my whole life 28 years to

be exact so this is the garbage they put

up here that they pulled have been taken

down because the problem they had is

fixed this is our lobby the phones used

to work when the police just had a

police station right yeah this used to

be a police station right now what

happened to that we ran them away where

the people ran them away because they

were zone vs that our mailboxes have for

the doors don't lock on the mailbox you

see now driving them in I ain't checked

the mail bus today

no I'm going to build yeah I got a bill

from the true groom that I'll never get

the newspaper if they sent it to me the

changes in the neighborhood has changed

the neighborhood around us not to us

around us we got one and a half scooting

on every 35 40 kids in one classroom

with one teacher he can't teach

everybody all you know he needs some

help so that's why all the kids when

they go in class then get no attention

they don't run away

this land is worth more than what the

[ __ ] over here can give so what can

you do with them just place them and the

ones that you don't want over here you

get rid up you get rid of you know and

what you use as an excuse use the drug

dealers you to cocaine how the all says

cocaine dealers you know saying you use

the people it's over here doing nonsense

to try to get rid of nonsense we grew up

as a family you know one building to the

next building to the next building you

know you can sit up here and talk all

you want to but yet still we love our

kids this is my fun

come on this is my son you feel like

your kids have an opportunity to get

rich in this country hell hell naw they

know rappers my kids they gonna be

rappers thing will be they will be rich

it's easier to just cleanse the earth of

these people send them to the far

reaches of the universe and the mayor's

office a build a big police station bill

a bunch of town houses the yuppies will

buy in and Buju fly it and suddenly will

have a community yeah there will be a

bunch of people displaced yeah there

will be a bunch of crime problems but

it's easier

we found the easy solution Charles

Darwin did not invent the term survival

of the fittest that was Herbert Spencer

a social Darwinist who thought that if

we just allowed the rich to get richer

well that was good for society because

we want to discourage the poor from

having lunch ildren and and and

basically surviving that kind of social

Darwinist notion has stayed alive in

certain quarters and i believe that it

is there behind much of the economic

policies we are now seeing look they're

never in history then a time when the

ordinary people of this world and

particularly in the rich nations like

the United States Britain you're never

been a time when the ordinary people

have had a level of income and liver

living that they now do but what about

the tens of thousands of people whose

lives were affected by the second Amin

and without breaking eggs you have a

system which is overwhelmingly yielding

good results but she's no question Erin

there it's not perfect and there are

cases and people will be get hurt but

that's true of any system doesn't it

make you nervous when you see so many

powerful and extremely wealthy

individuals sitting there directly

influencing those politicians when we're

in a democracy and not influencing

anything

they're playing a role in the political

system but Congress is ultimately going

to be influenced by public opinion from

what the public wants the public will

get what the public wants

a few months ago I told the American

people I did not trade arms for hostages

my heart and my best intentions still

tell me that's true but the facts and

the evidence tell me it is not in the

1980's the US government illegally sold

weapons to Iran and used the money to

support Nicaraguan rebels in what turned

out to be the iran-contra scandal at the

center of the deal was one billionaire

who had unfettered access to the secret

workings of the US government

we got involved in this iran-contra

story which unfortunately backfired a

little bit on everybody they asked me to

finance it I said ok so I give credit to

the CIA for a million dollars and they

ship the equipment they Runyan paid me

back it was supposed to be a hush-hush

operation as business people we have

ways of manipulating the government

officials and they have ways

manipulating us I take advantage of

opportunities that come in all

relationship in the world when you have

contacts like if I have contact with you

now I'll call you when I arrive New York

resi hi Edna and I want to see you after

so it's nothing abnormal you probably

will take me out to dinner introduce me

to another person who I make business

with

you would say you're not an arms dealer

you never work now the truth is if you

just to get through the records and so

you find out that you never dealt in

arms it was just a title given to us by

the press but when you helped connect

the United States government and the

Saudi government over sales of weapons

what would you call that marketing I

worked with the British on the lightning

program I worked with ratio on the

messiah's I work with Northrup on the f5

but this is normal business this is the

whole life around the free system is

like that it's been the case for the

last 25 years in the United States that

the amount of money flowing into the

system for political contributions has

been a major shaper of who gets what

within the economy and because they

always want something whether it's a tax

change or it's a change in regulation or

it's a subsidy or what-have-you and as a

result their number of studies that show

the people giving the money have often

had the greatest benefit in terms of

what happened to their stock price of

their own personal fortune meet the

kings of sugar Pepe and his brother

Alfonso flan pool of Palm Beach Florida

critics has to make these plantation

owners make an extra sixty five million

dollars a year off the sugar program in

American consumers the government puts

the total cost to consumers at at least

one point four billion dollars a year

the line Houle's there is no story

divine who's here if you're if you're

doing got me up this morning to talk

about it on host and we were making an

issue of divine who was at such we could

get it over with in the hurry

in that fatal moment in the Oval Office

when Bill Clinton was confronting Monica

and telling her it was over he's

interrupted with a call from it turns

out alfie fond whole alfie fond whole

was very concerned that Al Gore had made

a speech today before saying that he

shared companies were going to pay for

the cleanup the Everglades so while

Monica set there in her tears

Bill Clinton spent 22 minutes on the

phone reassuring alphaf on hold that

everything was okay that they would be

true to true blue and even that Al Gore

guy he's just saying that to get elected

keep giving us money so al can be

President

nobody knows exactly what it costs to

produce a pound of sugar in the

Everglades but it's the second most

profitable crop to tobacco in the United

States and it is mating them on whole

family extraordinarily rich the

incredible thing is that for every pound

of sugar grown in the Everglades and

we're talking about hundreds of millions

of tons the American taxpayer guarantees

a price of 22 cents a pound way above

the world price of seven cents a pound

the sugar program is a combination of

import quotas and a guarantee that the

government will buy any surplus it

limits dramatically it limits to almost

nothing the amount of foreign sugar is

permitted to enter the u.s. that means

if you need sugar in the US you have to

buy it from the US sugar producers and

that that results in the price being

artificially raised there's a shortage

usually and so the u.s. price of sugar

is higher than the world price so you

can go to Canada and the price of sugar

is one third of the United States or

Mexico is one third of the price in the

United States and they guarantee the

price so there is too much sugar in the

United States the federal government

will buy the sugar at the high price

makes zero economic sense near the

country is running a five hundred

billion dollar a year deficit and we're

subsidizing sugar production in the

Everglades which is damaging the same

system that we're spending hundreds of

millions of dollars to repair if you

really think about it it's nonsensical

it's even comical if it wasn't so

hideous it really would be laughable

the fond whole family makes hundreds of

millions of dollars I'm very wealthy

because of a government program and

there's no reason why the federal

government should create a program to

make the Fon hools Richard we're in

effect subsidizing the Fon huell's and

hurting the American public buying

products that have sugar in it one was

the Republican one was the Democrat

Alfie thought home was the single

largest contributor in Florida to the

Clinton campaign and his brother was the

largest contributor to the republican

bob dole campaign they had it covered

either way what we're talking about is

somewhere over $400,000 to various

people in contributions the Republican

National Committee they are putting down

in most of these cases their occupation

is with the Florida Crystals Corporation

that's the sugar corporation that's them

money doesn't decide every issue in

politics but most issues it plays a

major part in if you're going to try to

understand politics and why things

happen the way they do in Washington you

have to as they say follow the money

that's an industry how Democratic is

that it ain't it is called free

enterprise his free enterprise

while Althea and Pepe Fon who will get

richer off government programs the towns

where they base their businesses sink

deeper into poverty well the city of

Belleville it is a labor community

because we have a lot of agriculture in

the area

sugarcane being the largest and it has a

vast majority of you know I think

backgrounds or ethnicity what's that

word I'm looking for

ethnicity when sugar Barons like the Fon

rules needed cheap labor the u.s. made

an exemption to immigration laws foreign

workers were imported on a special visa

to cut sugarcane for third-world wages

they really disappointment I'm saying

what you gotta see the system you can't

beat it

everybody found doing up a year

to achieve something with support and

family are hard real harder you know

sometimes our supervisor tell is

immortal with blood sweat and tears and

it was I used to see people men go out

cutting cave when I come to visit my

cousin they come back lacerations

the cane either cut them in the hand cut

them in the league as you mean coughing

to clean up Malvo Sydney I see a lot of

things going on in the field the figures

show that every year was an average of

10 workers killed and sugar cane work

when the government came down as part of

their review of the Sugar Act to see

that the workers were being paid

properly it found massive minimum-wage

violations throughout the sugar industry

this we believe cost the workers

probably certainly millions of dollars

years maybe as much as 10 million

dollars a year a lot of time we know

that we was shot pay

you know I doing some work here on a

lotta Lotta lesser money more than what

we supposed to work for you know what

ain't nothing what we can do about it I

got into work all day longer how much

you made today $35 $40

you gotta work you out behind I've to

make 50 bucks

although the Fon Houle's deny wrongfully

cutting wages and putting their workers

safety at risk

eventually mounting lawsuits and

increasing scrutiny caused them to

mechanize their sugar harvest many of

the migrants who had come to work in

their fields stayed in America hoping

for other opportunities but they haven't

made it very far do you think it makes

it difficult for the people living in

that community to change their lives

when they're raised in that community

because they live in those conditions no

I mean there's a lot of talent down

there a lot of talent

you know this community here has

produced several famous football players

okay Fred Taylor for the Jacksonville

Jaguars so that's a weedy I mean that's

just one of the ways uh Jessie Hester

he's play for the Colts and the Raiders

you family lives right back here I mean

that's just one of the things I mean and

then there's other athletes and there

are a lot of talented people in this one

community

it's hard to believe that just a few

miles down the road from Belle Glade is

one of the richest towns in America Palm

Beach the contrast between the two

communities is astounding

but most rich people have come to accept

the blatant inequality as a way of life

in our country I know my father is

different he struggles with it yet every

time I turned the camera on his instinct

is to keep quiet we're in the middle of

the meeting you come in with the camera

we don't want to talk on camera about

what we're doing well I just think you

know which we're secretive secretive

about about well about the American

aristocracy it's written up in every

paper twice a year they tell they tell

you whether the radical haha talks the

secret why can't I be secretive every

man's house is his castle in this

country there's nothing wrong with

shedding light on that and reviewing it

and then hopefully correction sir well I

want you to be careful I'm not I mean

that it's the you know your personal

family will you made your movie now you

don't want to talk Jamie what is so dark

here what do you think's going on what

are you when you talking about take this

camera and your film and do another

person or another family it's not gonna

happen here it's frustrating because I

know when my dad was my age he had

something to say about social inequality

and I think the subject is so

complicated for him that now he chooses

to avoid it at all costs but for some

rich people I talked to inequality is

easy to understand it's preordained if

you inherit money then you feel why did

I get all this and somebody else is poor

well God had a reason for that God's

never going to give you anything that

you can't handle people mistake the

Bible as something that you put on the

Shelf after Sunday but it is it is a

guideline that you run your business

value and your family by and your on

your life by and you will succeed

we have about 260 million dollars in

sales and we have 1,150

employees we're in the top 30 private

landowners in the United States and when

the largest private landowner in

Louisiana

the TV set yeah that shows is how

they're doing real-time it's like the

cover don't muzzle an ox while it's

treading and what that means is keep the

keep everybody happy and they will do a

lot better job we have a plasma TV in

the in the lunchroom so that we can

communicate better with the employees

amazing some scripture up there is them

from the Bible

yep marketplace ministries is a company

chaplain service that we offer free to

our employees they get breaks during the

day and then come in the lunch room have

cokes and sandwiches and so forth and

get their infant in information's

infomercials I should say up there it's

easier for a camel to go through the eye

of a needle than a rich man to get into

heaven

back then rich people in the Jewish

states were the the most of highest they

were the ones they thought that that God

favored the most because they were

Wilson just because you're wealthy

doesn't mean you're you're not going to

get into heaven it means that God has

given you a lot of assets to be stewards

of and he's gonna sit back and watch how

you do it I think empathy is a very very

important quality you can t vote of

eight people have a business of uniting

pathetic view customers on workers hi

how you doing

crazy crippled out of my mind eating my

bread yeah

taking a little nap you know yeah I got

this teachers kinda crazy what's a good

black and whites a good combination

nowadays well go really said get these

in that's good hey you got a dollar

that would really help me out I'm going

to store fix myself up okay hey thanks

for coming by

hey cool bill what is your name Paul hey

Paul it's nice to see you Benny

take care they don't usually give

homeless folks money unless a homeless

person is playing music or trying to

better themselves selling pencils or

doing something I generally don't do

much in this case I thought that most

genteel would also have interleaved was

possibly give them a dollar you want to

look like Mother Teresa I mean how do

you take it to an extreme how much do

you mean if you want to really be the

minimalist you look like Mother Teresa

are you it's always a ambiguous thing

you should have a little bit of guilt a

little bit of pride I don't know how to

answer it

I'm the great-grandson of the meatpacker

Oscar Mayer and when I was 16 my father

told me that I was going to inherit

enough money so much money that I

wouldn't have to work but I made a

decision to give up that wealth I grew

up in a wealthy suburban community and I

went to school with kids who came to

school and chauffeur driven cars Cathy

Iacocca dad was Lee Iacocca alfred

Taubman son you know on Sotheby's

auction house you know that these were

the kids I went to school so we live we

I grew up in a in a wealth bubble but I

remember thinking at that time huh

there's something something wrong here

something about unfairness that's about

as much as I remember that but a little

seed was probably planted then and then

I wrote my dad a letter basically

telling him that my desire intention to

give away the money that I had he called

me after he got the letter he said I'm

coming to Boston I want to talk to you

about this and he came out and he said

you know I'm you've been away from home

for about ten years now I don't quite

understand this decision maybe you

should sort of tell me what's happened

since you left home and so he he

listened to me for a while just talked

about that and then he kind of at the

very end he says oh okay I understand I

understand what this is about you know I

don't I don't think it's a good idea and

my questions have to do with have you

really thought through all the

consequences of this like what if you

have a child one day

and that child has a severe disability

and he really pushed me on all these

what-if questions all the sort of worst

case scenarios for me it always came

back to well I would be in the same boat

as 98% of the people I know I do meet

people today who say it's hard to get by

and 50 million

you know I need more I think those

people are sick you know to to need that

much to have a good life I mean I think

you gotta take a look at yourself there

buddy

you know if you feel like you don't have

enough at that point in Los Angeles and

that I'm staying at the Beverly Wilshire

people ask me why stay at the Beverly

Wilshire rather than other more trendy

hotels and my answer I think it's an

important point this of distinction is

that I'm really not interested in being

cool I'm interesting being served

I'm from Italy and in Italy I possess

money but also the notoriety not writing

for what for having been rich for say

five centuries when I moved to New York

all I was was a young kid with money and

I really felt that there was something

missing at home I was you know the Baron

here in America you're nobody

are you model

actor I'm Adams desk ah no I don't do

anything actually that's the point of

the whole documentary I just like a like

a rich dude in Rodeo Drive and and the

fact that I don't do [ __ ] you know that

the [ __ ]

here there's no monarchy that can night

you and say you're a baron now but there

is the media and so what I did was I

hired a publicist and started doing

events and red carpets all of a sudden

you are a baron in a different way but

in a contemporary way

today I'm in Los Angeles for some

meetings with some production companies

and networks for possibly a reality show

which would be featuring me America is

fascinated by seeing the trappings of

wealth and more specifically rank

Americans rejected inequality at the

inception they said no to aristocracy

they said no to all this but at the same

time when you shed your sins you retain

a secret desire of having them back

in America some of the richest citizens

are treated like aristocracy even when

they go to great lengths to control how

the public perceives them when I

contacted Warren Buffett about this film

he refused to talk but a friend

introduced me to his granddaughter and

she invited me to her home to show me

what life is life in the second richest

family in the world

you're holding economy on an economy

owning Nicko

nam myoho renge gonna me owning a gonna

me owning aghanim you're hoarding

aghanim you're hoarding a on the mooring

aghanim you're hoarding aghanim your

warning hang on them your warning I

think we can really let go of excessive

stuff and the need to you know kind of

have excessive stuff is is a real

there's a lot of dignity in that I've

been very blessed to have my education

taken care of and I have my living

expenses taking care of while I'm in

school after we're out of school we

don't get any money from our family

I work for a family here in San

Francisco I do a lot of organizing of

just things in their home organizing of

toys I'm actually pretty good at looking

at a very messy closet or space and

making order out of chaos so that's

something I'll do before the kids come

home and then usually when the kids get

home I'm responsible for very general

things like bath time and dinnertime and

homework time I think it's a very weird

thing to be working for a very wealthy

family considering I do come from one of

the wealthiest families in America and I

feel that the family I work for feels a

bit of humor around the fact that I am

from one of the wealthiest families a

wealthier family then I believe they are

I don't want to make any assumptions but

I think that might be the case and I

think we all kind of find it odd and

also just wild and a little bit funny

but that's the case

since I was like 18 I've been totally

focused on making art being artists I

transform a lot of my questions doubts

and and fears through art I feel very

fulfilled I feel really happy in my life

I feel like I have more than what I need

and definitely what I need how do you

feel like your grandfather

react um I definitely fear judgement

money is the spoke in my grandfather's

Wheel of Life

I think either people are coming from a

place of love or fear and fear drives us

to want to hold on to things and not

share because we're afraid that there's

not enough for ourselves and if we let

go you know we're going to not have

enough for ourselves fear is what stops

most wealthy people from talking about

their money

in many cases children and wealthy

families are nervous that they're going

to get punished for what they say

I don't think Nicole or I expected how

severely her grandfather would react to

her presence in this film

but after the shoot in her studio she

received a letter from him that

surprised us all so did you read that

first opening line no you would never do

your grandpa I guess in the letter he

states that their relationship is over

and that she is no longer a member of

their family my family adopted you as a

niece or cousin because I was in this

film you know it has made grandpa Hino

upset upset to the extent that now he's

gonna say I'm not his real granddaughter

in this picture of grandpa and us little

girls here I've spent months and years

of my life at his home in Omaha which

was my twin sister and I but in spring

break we would go and visit him and we

would stay in his home it was just us

and we spent so much time bonding as his

grandchildren money is a part of life

you have to make money to live and so

but I think that when that element of

necessity is taken to an extreme there's

an imbalance there and with that with

that monetary imbalance comes an

emotional imbalance

at the same time of Nicole's struggle

with her grandfather Warren Buffett came

out and announced that he was giving a

majority of his fortune to charity

I asked Nicole how she felt as the world

celebrated his generosity I feel that

who my grandfather is publicly as a

public figure and who my grandfather

Warren Buffett is as a grandfather as a

father as a brother as a son are two

completely different things

Warren Buffett's reaction to the film

ended up in a newspaper my family

started to get nervous and they called

me in for a meeting with my father in

his financial advisor Jamie I don't

agree with the thesis of your movie I

don't respect the way in which you

documented it I don't know that you're

right I mean I think this movie is

taking in a good direction I think so

far I've learned a lot and I think if

anything what I've seen suggests that

some of my original thoughts about it

were on the right track and I don't

understand why your resistance would be

so severe I mean if it's not a

threatening thing then why are you

reacting this way Jamie I'm not freaked

out by the project I'm disappointed and

what you've conspired to do with it Jim

what you just you think Brian's right

what do you mean brought

he's upset I can understand it I'm not

sure whether he's right or wrong but I

feel like this movie is a good idea and

I feel like I've got to go forward with

it either way I can't take any more it's

too much right

oh dear

well Brian I don't understand why human

I get pissed off when you say okay fine

I'll do I'll go do my homework and you

don't I don't need it it's a pain in the

ass you're behaving like a little

arrogant trustafarian you know come on

give me a break I'm not surprised that

Brian is upset with this movie his job

is to ensure that members of the 1% keep

getting richer and for him the growing

wealth gap is an indication that he and

people like him are doing their jobs but

not all rich people see the growing

wealth gap as a good sign for some it's

a problem that needs to be reversed

people who have been enabled to

accumulate very very large will have an

indebtedness to society for having made

that possible they live in a place which

generates individual wealth the creation

of the microprocessor the human genome

research the internet none of those

things would exist but for the 90

billion dollars that the federal

government spends every year on basic

research people don't really see the

role that the use of tax dollars plays

in making our economy so vibrant hold on

what if we had a slightly more

aggressive tax system and supported the

bottom the bottom you would have let you

would have less growth and the bottom

would be poor would in the end end up

worse off we would do harm not good but

people don't pay those high taxes they

find ways of getting around and you're

never going to be able to stop them from

finding ways to get around it I mean I

think there's some there's definitely

merit to that and I certainly wouldn't

advocate socialism well you are

advocating excuse me don't talk that way

you are advocating socialism that's

exactly what you're advocating you're

just not willing to call it socialism

I'm just advocating a slightly more

progressive tax structure that's

socialism if you're gonna have a society

of bad

the load of the taxes have to fall on

the people with the money and I don't

resent the very wealthy as a matter of

fact I'd like to be one but I do think

that many of the wealthy people

understand that they could probably pass

a little bit of another tax break to

have a little left for Head Start back

in the old days you would tax passive

income meaning dividend and interest

income differently than salary income

right now a guy making money from

dividends pays 15% tax but a soldier

over in Iraq pays 40 percent tax thirty

percent income tax imagine the idea of a

worker going to a foundry every day heat

dust working imagine a society that says

to that fonder worker you're going to

pay more share of your income in federal

income taxes then the multi-millionaire

is going to pay on his or her dividends

and capital gains entrepreneurs and

small business owners are also singled

out for punishment by the estate tax

better known as the death tax when you

die if your if your assets flow to your

descendants than the descendants that

receive it are required to pay a tax on

that transfer the estate tax in itself

is a is really to me anti-american it is

a redistributionist type tax because

that money has been taxed in tax and tax

all throughout your life and then they

tax it again taxes on estates are our

board are criminal but and are unethical

affect the estate tax in about five

years will only apply the federal estate

tax to about three four thousand estates

the real rich estates you know ten

million and above

maybe it's even less than that but the

propaganda by the Republicans and the

rich have been so relentless that most

people think gee you know my estate

should go to my kids not in the federal

government shouldn't tax it you don't

pay the estate tax unless you are

already extremely wealthy

it's mythological that this is for small

farmers or for small businesses no we're

talking about the wealthiest people in

this country

I remember in 1997 there was this big

push to abolish the inheritance tax and

at the time I was like wow where did

this come from now I know that the Mars

family and the Gallo family and all

these enormous ly wealthy families

bankrolled an effort to abolish the

inheritance tax Forrest Mars net worth

ten billion dollars you know lives in

Virginia and wants to get rid of the

estate tax I mean how much money does

you want to pass oh honey

it was a December 2000 that I got an

email from Bill Gates senior the father

of the founder of Microsoft who said how

can I help you no I'm he he said I'm the

idea that we would eliminate the estate

tax is just wrong he says well I'll uh

I'll call Warren Buffett and George

Soros and Paul Newman and so I said all

right you you call your friends and I'll

call my friends and we'll we'll see what

we can do

I'm here talking to people in the Senate

about the federal estate tax bill the

Republicans are trying to repeal it

their constituents don't like to pay the

tax and they're trying to help their

constituents by refusing we are

developing a very serious wealth

disparity and the fact of the matter is

that the disparity has developed even

though we do have an estate tax so I

hate to think how how bad it would be if

we we hadn't had an estate tax over this

time if we continued to reduce the

estate tax on the schedule we now have

it means that we are going to have the

children of the wealthiest people in

this country owning more and more of the

assets of this country and their

children as well we're going to have

family dynasties of a sort that we had

in the late 19th century meanwhile the

rest of the country is going to have to

be paying more and more in taxes to keep

a safe from terrorism to make sure we

have roads and bridges and an education

and the minimum amount of health care we

do Medicare and Medicaid it's unfair

it's unjust it's absurd

in late August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina

at the Gulf Coast of the United States I

want every American to know that their

government is doing everything it can to

help get relief to those in need as

quickly as possible you want to be

rescued go to the Superdome all of a

sudden are they telling us go to the

bridge yeah we have very few resources

what are we supposed to do it is wrong

we have no water you could have dropped

it from the sky from the helicopter as a

three week old infant girl baby survive

out here with no milk no water look how

hot he is he's not waking up very easy

we have regular care like bodies

floating dance my front door you know

Americans are generous to each other and

I just hope that what the world is

seeing is that even though we've been

hit with something that is unlike

anything that we've been hit with before

the generosity of this country and the

caring of Americans for Americans is I

think what is coming through

for five days tens of thousands of

people waited for help from a government

that had seemingly forgotten them

when the president finally did show up

he didn't seem too worried about those

most in need out of the rubbles of trent

lott

houses had lost his entire house there's

going to be a fantastic house and I'm

looking forward to sitting on the porch

while the president enthusiastically

planned his future visits to Trent Lots

beach house

thousands of people waited outside the

Superdome for food and water

within a few days of the disaster people

are ready living on the edge of poverty

were pushed to increasingly desperate

measures to survive

it was the poor the people that didn't

have an opportunity to buy ticket I

didn't have an automobile to get out of

New Orleans and even we saw people

calling out for help help us help us

save us we were slow to respond we want

people with one family we have one house

and we all must have a place at the

table in this house and I think those in

high places whether it's the President

of the United States but it's the

majority leader the Senate but the

Speaker of the House for the mayor of

our cities of business leaders we must

recognize the fact that none of us not

one of us are going to get out this

predicament

do we all sort of get out together

the tide together as a nation and as a

people the one thing you would depend on

everybody said he's going to put his

interests above yours I don't think

that's a very hard thing to understand

well aren't all these signs that we're

starting to see in America that are

emerging in America what time's sign

didn't they all apply to past

civilization why are we don't we we're

not exempt from those if we builder

young if I when our society collapses

there will be not be for the reasons

you've cited it will be because our

government has grown too big because we

have not held government down to size

nervous that because we're not asking

the right questions because we're not

willing to curtail our rapid growth

because of you to get out of here we're

at the stage now where the gap between

the rich and poor exhausted my patience

I asked there is no equality in life

forget about it we are what we are we

were created layers over each other's

this is it

there are the withers that serve your

coffee there are the cooks there are the

and there are the people who will buy

the facilities and enjoy it what can you

do that's life

I think that what we've seen in the last

20 years is reckless because of where

the United States sort of is at the top

part of its trajectory going down we use

too much oil we make too much money out

of finance there's too much debt there's

a recklessness about resources a

recklessness about borrowing a sense

that it's always going to be up up and

away for the United States serious study

just doesn't support America has been

blessed because of its judeo-christian

background its alliance to the Ten

Commandments and and it's it's laws were

based upon that and that's why it's been

blessed it gets away from that even fail

in the Progressive Era in the first

decades of the 20th century

we had a huge gap in income and wealth

between people the top and people at the

bottom in the working class our cities

were festering the rich were capturing

more and more power and wealth but what

did we do as a society we didn't have a

revolution we didn't turn to socialism

or communism or fascism we reformed

ourselves the Progressive Era was an era

of reform we adopted they graduated

progressive income tax we regulated

corporations we busted up the big

Trust's big monopolies we made jobs

safer

we provided eventually and by the 1930s

unemployment insurance and also old-age

insurance old Social Security we in

other words did not embrace socialism we

embrace reform the whole history of

mankind is that similar to geology the

center of the earth is all molten lava

and there's only a thin layer on earth

you can live on three four miles and

there's so much down there that's all

hot hot hot that thin layer is that

there's between rich and poor you need

incentives and society so rich achieved

things but the whole history of mankind

is that the lava overflows it kicks

their ass I think there are more and

more really wealthy people still small

in number we're basically saying we

cannot continue this devastation of the

lives and hopes and rights of tens of

millions of our fellow Americans that

it's not smart from our point of view

their multi billionaires but they're

beginning to be fearful of the future

my great-grandfather started the Johnson

and Johnson pharmaceutical company okay

John and John big money the old money

old crooked money and money they come

out of their moonshine of the whole

fiction truth to them man I know it to

design way to get into the board Lansing

the truth no great did you I can tell

you something and you might think I'm an

idiot my family warning richest family

in the world but not with money with

little kind of Tom's and patient

qualities that worth more than money and

you can't buy that they taught me how to

love people for who they are not what I

want on the bed they taught me how to

get along with people they taught me to

treat people to wait I want to be

treated

they told me to treat each person for

who they are not Club them together but

we all different in our

that division mr. Oliver I know making

this movies been a little bit

complicated for you it has been

complicated Jamie I wish that I've shown

more outward support from the very first

because you know I am proud of you and I

have to tell you this cuz I cryed all

its but it's true and I just wish I'd

shown you right away how proud I was of

you and how much I agree with what

you're trying to do I wasn't born rich

so I might have started out with a very

different set of ideas and I've tried to

be sensitive to your dad's ideas about a

little bit careful you know some would

consider it of him and

how he likes it to be and so that

creates a little conflict and that

creates a little conflict about the

movie what is so complicated about it

when I first married your dad he was

after all a surfer and a painter then he

was not the grown person that you see

today and I I think you and he could

spend time exploring that and now we've

come to a conclusion and I know you have

some questions to ask me and I'd like to

proceed with him well what about the

movie you made when you were mine um

when I was much younger just out of

college I gotten involved in charitable

giving to an anti-apartheid organization

that was making a film in South Africa

it involved wages and workers and in

certain companies when it aired on

public television

Johnson and Johnson I know was included

in that and several people connected

with the company started to complain to

the CEO there about what's Jimmie

Johnson doing he's undermining our

business my name also appeared on the

film credits and I remember going down

to meet with the CEO at the time and I

began to realize that it was a story

with two sides that the yes they didn't

pay that I forget it it's going nowhere

just keep going you're kind I've got you

gotten you got what I feel and I can't

give you solutions for the world what do

you mean well if you have a way to help

you should do it if you can affect one

or two lives you've done a good work I

don't think you are necessarily set the

goal of changing the world because it's

it's maybe beyond what what's possible

I'm proud of my father for making his

movie it's surprising it took him so

long to tell me about it but the

scolding he got from the company clearly

took a toll on him and it explains why

he hates talking about money

unfortunately many rich people feel the

same way as the executives who

confronted my father self-preservation

has given rise to the growing wealth gap

in America and the bigger the gap gets

the more removed wealthy people get from

the world around them but if you're

always hiding from the problem you're

never going to find any solutions

you got me

the sugar you got me I just believe I

just

I just

mother's feeling I just can't believe

ah

honey honey

my girl you got me one day you