The super-rich got even wealthier this year, and yet most of them are paying even fewer taxes to support the eduction, job training, and job creation of the rest of us. According to Forbes magazine’s annual survey, just released, the combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans climbed 8% this year, to $1.37 trillion. Wealth rose for 217 members of the list, while 85 saw a decline.Reich goes on to write about his frustration that the Democrats have decided to "postpone" decisions about tax cuts until after the mid-term election. In short, they want to hide what they do from the voters. Not a very reassuring sign! Worse, Reich feels that voting down tax cuts for the top 2% would have been a winning ploy. Going into the elections telling people that the rich no long get to avoid taxes should have been a winning strategy.
For example, Charles and David Koch, the energy magnates who are pouring vast sums of money into Republican coffers and sponsoring tea partiers all over America, each gained $5.5 billion of wealth over the past year. Each is now worth $21.5 billion.
Wall Street continued to dominate the list; 109 of the richest 400 are in finance or investments.
From another survey we learn that the 25 top hedge-fund managers got an average of $1 billion each, but paid an average of 17 percent in taxes (because so much of their income is considered capital gains, taxed at 15 percent thanks to the Bush tax cuts).
The rest of America got poorer, of course. The number in poverty rose to a post-war high. The median wage continues to deteriorate. And some 20 million Americans don’t have work.
Only twice before in American history has so much been held by so few, and the gap between them and the great majority been a chasm — the late 1920s, and the era of the robber barons in the 1880s.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Dismal Statistics on Income Inequality
From a post by Robert Reich on his blog: