David Gregory sticking up for bank stockholders on Meet the Press (2/22/09):
There’s a larger point here, which is, first of all, the more…the shares of…these banks gets talked down…the closer you get to wiping out the shareholder completely. And it’s, it’s not clear to me that everybody understands that the investor in this country, who is not just a fat cat, the investor is us…. It is the taxpayer, it’s the teacher, it’s someone who’s invested in a 401(k). The investors on the sidelines, scared to death about taking any risk. And unless that changes, this economy really can’t turn around.
Matthew Yglesias writes today (2/23/09) on the oddity of Gregory making a distinction between fat cats and people like himself. I can’t find a published estimate of Gregory’s salary, but his NBC colleague Chris Matthews reportedly makes $5 million a year (Washington Post, 1/8/09), as did his Meet the Press predecessor Tim Russert (Washington Post, 5/23/04), so Gregory’s salary is probably in that neighborhood, give or take a few million. This is a hundred times the median family income in the U.S.–not counting Gregory’s spouse’s income; she used to be a vice president at Fannie Mae, making an estimated $3 million a year.
On Gregory’s actual point: Only about a third of stocks are owned in the U.S. by the wealthiest 1 percent, so it’s true that not all stockholders are actually “fat cats.” But almost 90 percent of stocks are owned by the top 20 percent of households, so when you’re talking about policies that benefit stockholders, you’re talking about benefiting a distinct minority.