The New York Times on Sunday carried a story about the new class of the very wealthy. It identifies some whom you likely have heard of - Bill Gates and Sanford Weill - others you have probably not.

Louis Uchitelle's article provides a useful comparison with the prior Gilded Age, in which America emerged as a manufacturing powerhouse, poised to dominate the 20th Century. Unlike the Andrew Carnegies of the Gilded Age, many of the new mega-wealthy did not manufacture a product. Sanford Weill, for instance, benefited from the deregulation of banking. Many benefited from tax laws and a bull stock market. Gates, of course, did invent a product.