Every Ferrari dealership in the country should have a framed picture of Ben Bernanke in their lobby. It should read: "Our #1 Salesman."
The largesse of the Federal Reserve over the past five years has amounted to one of the largest ever subsidies to the American wealthy—fueling record fortunes, record numbers of new millionaires and billionaires, and an unprecedented shopping spree for everything from Ferraris to Francis Bacon paintings. The prices of the assets owned by the wealthy, and the things they buy, have gone parabolic, bearing little relationship to the weak, broader economy.
On Wednesday, the Fed decided to start the long-awaited taper, dialing down its purchases of mortgage bonds and Treasury securities by a combined $10 billion. But the core of its program will remain through to 2014. And even if the Fed ends quantitative easing altogether next year, it's become increasingly clear that much of the gains from the program have flowed to the top 1 percent.
More millionaires have been created over the past five years than during the entire eight years of the Bush administration. According to Spectrem Group, there were 2.3 million new millionaires created between 2008 and 2012. This year, the number will likely grow by at least 200,000, which would bring the millionaire population past its previous record in 2007.
(Read more: Will the Grim Taper be a body blow to the wealthy?)
During the Bush administration, between 2000 and 2008, 400,000 new millionaires were created (the total number of millionaires increased from 6.3 million to 9.2 million between 2000 and 2007 but the number fell to 3.7 million in 2008 due to the financial crisis).