Recent studies have shown that Americans have no idea how badly wealth ownership is skewed in America. When asked to pick the pie graph that depicts the percentage of wealth owned, they choose one that shows it pretty evenly divided. In fact, 1% of Americans own 42.7% of the nation’s wealth, 19% own 50.3% while the remaining 80% (about 250 million) of us get to fight over the last 7%.
The distribution of income is also surprising. 1% receives 21.3% of the nation’s income, the next 19% shares 40%, leaving 38% for the rest (250 million)of us. The income of the richest 1%, assisted by ever escalating tax breaks, rose from 12% in1982 to 22% in 2006, while the incomes of the remaining 99% were level or declined.
Even more shocking is the fact that there are 400 Americans who each receive 344 million dollars in income every year, a total of 137 billion dollars. Do you think that they pay their fair share of taxes? Imposing a 5% tax on a person making $20,000 per year affects that person’s ability to buy food clothing and shelter. You could tax the wealthiest at 95% and they would still receive millions each year.
When I talk about 80% of the population I am talking about 250 million people. When I talk about 1% I am talking about 3 million people. In a democracy it should not be hard to select leaders who are working for us, for the majority.
For the past 70 years I believe that has been largely true. We have created programs, despite strong opposition from Republicans, that provide for our medical care, our retirement, that protect us from pollution, that make sure our food and drugs are not contaminated, that protect us from attacks, and provide care for the poor and disabled. I am, however constantly confronted by people who want to cut or abolish these programs… programs which were created for their benefit.
These same people do not want to increase taxes on anybody. These people proudly tell me they are Republicans and /or members of the tea party. They are hard working middle and lower class Americans. I want to tell them they are crazy or stupid or at best brainwashed. Why do they support the rich? Why do they want to dismantle our safety net? Why don’t they act in their own best interests? Do they think they are the rich or that some day they are going to break into the upper 2% and there fore the hell with the rest of them? If that is what they think they had better start buying lots of lottery tickets. I believe that they just don’t understand where they are on the wealth/income totem pole
Some of the wealthy recognize how unfairly the tax burden is apportioned. Warren Buffet recently said in an op-ed piece that because of tax breaks given to the rich he is in a lower tax bracket than his cleaning lady.
The rich are not going to help us. The government can and will but only if we elect leaders who care about us. Let’s tell everyone that we like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and all the other programs that make living in America so fantastic.
If the government isn’t receiving enough money to pay for these programs then tell those that can afford it that they will have to pay a little more for the privilege of living in this great country. I am not advocating a return to the 80’s when the rich paid 70% of their income in income taxes and 50% on capital gains. I believe the budget can be balanced without cutting important programs with reasonable increases in taxes and the elimination of tax loopholes and tax credits for special interests.
I also believe that since this is in the best interests of the vast majority it should be easy to accomplish.
The rich are already waging war on us. Listen to their soldiers on Fox News, the Wall Street Journal or their Republicans in Congress or in the State legislatures. Who pays them to use phrases like “job killings tax hikes” or that suggesting tax increases is “class warfare”. Who pays all those lobbyists and makes those huge contributions to elect Republicans?
They don’t want to abolish the Bush tax cuts but they do want to abolish the cut in payroll taxes which are paid by the working class. This should tell you who they are working for and it’s not working class Americans. Under the Bush tax cuts the taxes of the rich were cut by 4% while taxes for the rest of us were cut only 3%. That should also tell you who holds power in this country and it is not the majority.
Wake up people, before they take everything away from you!!!
If you question my numbers look on line at” Who Rules America Wealth Income and Power” by Professor Domhoff and the studies he cites