I was just reading an article that said Romney couldn't seem more out of touch if he showed up in a top hat and a monocle lighting a cigar on fire with a hundred dollar bill. I started wondering, just how finnacially feasible is it for him to light things on fire with $100 bills. Now, I know Romney isn't the sort of person who is likely to be smoking cigars, but human brains are very bad at putting large numbers into perspective. This is purely an exercise in understanding how wealthy is Mitt Romney.
I've never smoked a cigar, so I have no idea how much they cost nor how long they take to smoke. So, I just assumed $100 per cigar and five minutes each to smoke. Let's say Romney needs five hours per day for a brief nap, some food, and other basic essentials during which he is not smoking any cigars. If he spent the other 19 hours ceaelessly chain-smoking $100 cigars that he lit with $100 bills, then he would almost use up his daily average after-tax income, as based on his disclosed income tax report and assuming it has stayed fairly similar.
So, lighting one cigar with a $100 bill would have virtually no effect on his daily income. Proportional to most people's income, it'd be like somebody else losing less than a penny.
I just did this as a fun exercise in math, but maybe it will help a little to put into perspective what it means for most of the nation's wealth to be in the hands of a very few people. It's truly hard to understand the degree of wealth they have, and simple examples that put it into physical terms that one can picture can be useful.