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Billionaire Sam Zell: ‘The 1% Work Harder’

How did the richest one percent of Americans get to own more than 40% of the nation’s wealth? According to billionaire Sam Zell, it’s simply because they “work harder.” During an interview with Bloomberg TV host Betty Liu Wednesday, Zell explained why he think Americans should stop envying the one percent and start “emulating” them instead.

Zell, who founded Equity Group Investments, was responding to comments made by venture capitalist Tom Perkins, who recently compared the “demonization” of the wealthy in America to how the Nazis treated the Jews during the Holocaust. “He’s right,” Zell told Liu. “The, quote, ‘one percent’ are being pummeled, because it’s politically convenient to do so.”

“The problem is that the world and this country should not talk about envy of the one percent, they should talk about emulating the one percent,” he continued. “The 1 percent work harder, the 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society.”

When Liu pushed back, noting how hard to would be for someone trying to live on minimum wage to “emulate” the one percent, Zell said the “stories are rampant” of people who started from nothing and became rich. “Lots of people have come from nowhere and become part of the one percent,” he said.

Watch video below, via Bloomberg TV:

[photo via screengrab]

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