The Fallacy of Lumping Millionaires with Billionaires

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Suppose you have a net worth of one thousand dollars, while your friend has one million dollars. Would you consider yourselves to be in the same financial category?

Certainly not. The comparison is absurd. Your friend's one million is a thousand times greater than your one thousand. That's how much difference it makes to add three zeroes and a second comma.

Yet those intending to shame or attack "the rich" commonly make a comparison that is equally absurd, when they lump together "millionaires and billionaires." One billion is a thousand times greater than one million – the same difference of scale as the difference between one million and one thousand.

Why is equating millionaires with billionaires so common?

Folks that salt sound bites with "millionaires and billionaires" do so from an emotional, not a mathematical perspective. It's a phrase that rolls smoothly off the tongue and emotionally triggers issues of fairness in those – about 99.9% of the population – who don't consider themselves rich.