And as to your last point, the truth is that middle and lower income people inject a SIGNIFICANTLY larger percentage of their income back into the economy that the rich elite.
Directly, yes, I agree 100%. But its those rich bastards that give the rest of us tools something to do, and something to spend with. Just about any company, in any industry can grow, and play command and conquer with their competition. There are very few Cornelius Vanderbuilts, Henry Fords, Sam Waltons, James Hills, Andrew Carnegies, or Larry Ellisons in the world. It takes brains, luck, leadership and a serious work ethic to become a captain of any industry, and it gets harder all the time. The opportunities aren't there like they were two hundred years ago. Labor costs, regulation on all fronts, and taxation make it really tough to run a small business before you even take competition into consideration.
Every market has a niche that can be exploited, and used to grow into other regions of your discipline or to expand into others. I've found mine, people who spend more on there kitchens than I did on my entire house. (and then some)... But I have no luck, I'm a horrid leader, and I ain't all that bright. Work ethic is the only thing dragging my company through the mud. I also have no illusions of grandeur, I won't be taking the corporate jet to Monaco anytime soon. I also don't want to employ a few thousand people, hell just a couple of idiots on the payroll makes me want to go dig the requisite number of holes in a field somewhere.
The forrest thing isn't a real great analogy, because when the markets are burning down, thats when the big tree's in business make a killing. "When there is blood in the streets, buy land" is one of the most solid statements there is. You just have to have the smarts to know when to hang your ass out with risk, and when to rein it back and buckle down for the ever impending sh*t storm lapping at your door.
Keep in mind though, on a long enough timeline, the end result of capitalism is a monopoly. We'll all be working for Wal-Mart someday. Thankfully wars, death, and revolutions keep things in check nicely.