Source: Visualizing Economics
Source: Visualizing Economics

When it comes to the top 0.01 percent of earners, it is extremely challenging to describe the differences in terms of income. Words often fail to convey the massive range.

Fortunately for us, Catherine Mulbrandon of Visualizing Economics has put together a simple chart that shows just how fantastic the spread was in 2010 between those who are merely rich and the fabulously wealthy. This is an unweighted scale. It isn't skewed for population. It merely ranks top incomes by dollars earned.

The top of the chart shows the highest earning hedge fund manager. Toward the lower quartile, we see the average compensation for the top 25 hedge fund managers -- our topic of discussion yesterday. How these lower quartile folks even show their faces at the club is beyond me, given their pitiful earnings.

Then we get to the unwashed masses.

From the bottom up: 99 percent of all earners are represented by a red dot at the very bottom of the spectrum. The cutoff for the 99.99 percent is a touch above that. And not too far above that is the top Major League Baseball earner, a guy whose pathetic salary resides below even the average income of the top 25 hedge fund managers. On this chart, the rest of the ballplayers are a bunch of slacker ne’er do wells, earning toward the bottom of the scale.

It’s no wonder Jeter is retiring ...

To contact the author of this article: Barry Ritholtz at

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Alex Bruns at