Last night I watched "The One Percent," a 2006 documentary about the wealthiest Americans (The film should probably be called the "Point One Percent.") The film was created and is narrated by Jamie Johnson, an heir to the Johnson and Johnson fortune. There's much here that won't surprise you. Some of the wealthy people justify their wealth, while others say simply that they don't know what could be done to fix things. For me, the most interesting comments were when the interviewees kept warning Jamie to "be careful" and to not rock the boat. The possibility of upheaval or outright revolution seems to be much more real to these people than it is to the other 99%. One also senses that extreme wealth creates tremendous unconscious fear--there's a lot to lose after all.
The film includes a few more noble types such as Bill Gates, Sr., who has pushed for the government to maintain the estate tax. Milton Friedman comes off as quite an idiot, insisting at one point that money from the wealthy or corporations doesn't influence the U.S. government at all and that the government does exactly what the public wants. As a pointed counter-argument, the documentary chronicles U.S. government's support for the sugar industry--a policy that costs jobs, costs both tax-payers and consumers a lot of money, damages the environment, and further enriches billionaires. The documentary's worth seeing. While short on definitive answers, it certainly asks the right questions.
Link: Another review of the film