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The Rich Get Richer

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Posted on Jul 27, 2008
Flickr / PetroleumJelliffe

According to the most recent data from the IRS, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans took home a greater share of the nation’s income in 2006 than in any year of the previous 19. It’s possibly the biggest income disparity Americans have seen since the Great Depression. The average tax rate of the super-rich was at its lowest level in at least 18 years.

(h/t Political Wire)

Wall Street Journal:

According to the figures, the richest 1% reported 22% of the nation’s total adjusted gross income in 2006. That is up from 21.2% a year earlier, and is the highest in the 19 years that the IRS has kept strictly comparable figures. The 1988 level was 15.2%. Earlier IRS data show the last year the share of income belonging to the top 1% was at such a high level as it was in 2006 was in 1929, but changes in measuring income make a precise comparison difficult.

The average tax rate in 2006 for the top 1%, based on adjusted gross income, was 22.8%, down slightly from 2005 and the fifth straight year of declines. The average tax rate of this group was 28.9% in 1996, and was 24% in 1988.

As the wealthiest Americans’ share of income has risen, so has their share of the income-tax burden. The group paid 39.9% of all income taxes in 2006, compared with 27.6% in 1988. In the most recently reported five years, however, the share of income reported by the very wealthy has risen faster than the group’s share of income taxes.

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By kabonfoot, August 24, 2008 at 6:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They want to do all they can to serve that top 1% and they wouldn’t be where they are now if that was not their intention.  How odd that the Obama supporters who post here and who consider themselves to be progressives.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 29, 2008 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

When Democrats are in power, this trend towards concentration slows but does not stop, yet it slows. And the economy prospers.

When the Re-thief-icans are in power, the trend accelerates and the economy founders—and they say we are in a “Mental recession”.

No, thieves stealing the wealth of America, aided by Bush & Co, has exactly the expected effect: Inflation, unemployment, foreclosures, devaluation of the currency, and loss of ordinary Americans’ wealth and security for the future.

So, vote for McSame if you want more of this.

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By P. T., July 28, 2008 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

Wealth is even more concentrated than income.

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By Alan, July 28, 2008 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More important than citing the income statistics is
citing the statistics regarding the net worth
of the richest 1 percent.  If 1 percent of the country
can own more than 50% of the assets of the country,
then that doesn’t really sound like a stat descriptive
of a country, it sounds like a stat descriptive
of a medieval kingdom.

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By David Model, July 28, 2008 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

The growing disparity between the wealthy and poor and decreasing taxes for the rich should come as no shock.  Neoconsevative intellectuals and their think tanks have been advocating Milton Friedman’s economic policies since the early 1970s and when President Reagan assumed office, the time was ripe for implementation of those policies.

As soon as Friedman’s policies became the conventional wisdom replacing Keynesian economics, the outcome, so conspicuous today, became inevitable.  No other result is possible when you cut social programs, lower taxes for the rich and implement free-market policies.

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By Maxxie, July 28, 2008 at 11:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reply to P.T. 

Great point, P.T.  According to Price Waterhouse, 31% of the price of a loaf of bread is to pay taxes.  See:

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By P. T., July 28, 2008 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

Remember that when conservatives talk about how much of the tax bill is borne by the rich, those commenting are referring to the Federal Income Tax.  They ignore other taxes that are less progressive or that are regressive.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, July 28, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

Keep the good old plutocracy purring like a kitten.

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By Sang Ze, July 28, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you, Mr. Bush. I’m so pleased that you are so interested in the welfare of the people. Beyond doubt your loyal follower, Mr. McCain, will certainly make a fine, and filthy rich, president, just like you. The serfs will see to that.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, July 28, 2008 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

You gotta love “data” and our right to public info. because I doubt King George would like this info getting out to the middle class.  It might tend to make them mad as hell and reluctant to take it anymore. 

This must have slipped through his administration’s cracks. 

and reply to outraged:  But the rich are this country’s engine and we don’t want to kill their incentive to keep it motoring.

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By Jim Yell, July 28, 2008 at 7:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I remember years ago when Brazil was suffering years of hyper-inflation, which I followed in the news. It was horrible for the majority of the country and I wondered how it was that nothing real was being done to control it.

The countries statistics showed that the working poor were badly nurished and it had gone on so long that their children were actually smaller than the poor adults had been.

Then came a study which showed that during this time of hyper-inflation the country had been living with the wealthy of Brazil had in fact become much more wealthy than ever before. Was that an accident? No it wasn’t and neither is this gangsterism by the Repbulican party and their continued lies about deregulation and tax cuts. The worse that any one can wish them is that they get what they deserve.

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By Purple Girl, July 28, 2008 at 5:15 am Link to this comment

No doubt the majority of thee 1% are War profiteers or Accomplices in the long running stratedgy to eliminate US as a economic strong hold for Labor in the global Market.Know why Neo Cons targeted the faithful for their ‘ProLife’ marketing Slogan..To assure the supply side of labor was so vast, cost for it would go down.By using the ‘Religion’facade, they would guarantee that the job market was small enough that workers would accept any type of wage and benefits they were thrown. Along with the ever increasing undermining of Unions, along with their co conspirators claiming to be avid supporters ( union and Political ‘Dem leaders’) They could be sure labor would be a cheap commodity in the future.Tighten the noos withincreasing costs and thus forcing workers to rely on credit to survive and you have Indentured slavery for the 21st century.Add a few ‘Bridge in Brooklyn’ Mortage Deals and raid their pension and annuity funds with pre ordained Stock market failures, Bankruptacies and Bailouts and you have increased the shortage of jobs available because no one can afford to retire.
They have been working for Decades to drive down the Price of the commodity known as Labor and have used every possible tactic available to them while reaping the profits.
individuals made these decsions and Conditons possible and Individuals MUST Be Held Crimianlly Responsible. Those who signed their names to Debts owed to other countries should be expected to be held personally responsible for the Re Payment- Not the Corp, but the PEOPLE. We never Co-signed the loans, We should not be held responsible for them.Instead of sending Athelets to China, we should be sending the Debtors- CEO’s, Politicians, speculators and Boardmembers.Of course Only after we have Seized What they Owe US!

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By jackpine savage, July 28, 2008 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

Perhaps Motorhead summed things up better than anyone…

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By troublesum, July 28, 2008 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

I read somewhere recently that back in the 50’s and 60’s when we had a more or less progressive tax policy, those in the top income bracket paid a 40% tax rate, and that the current national debt - somewhere in the $2 trillion plus neighborhood - is equal to the extra amount they would have paid in over the years since then if their taxes had not been reduced.  In other words, the national debt is equal to the Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush tax cuts.

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By troublesum, July 28, 2008 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

The figures for the whole world are even more staggering.  The richest 1,000 men in the world have a combined annual income equal to that of the bottom 2 billion people.  This situation is not worth mentioning in the presidential campaign apparently.  Both Obama and McCain are staunch defenders of the status quo.  They want to do all they can to serve that top 1% and they wouldn’t be where they are now if that was not their intention.  How odd that the Obama supporters who post here and who consider themselves to be progressives, have become appologists for the way things are: “We have always had rich people and poor people.”

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By nrobi, July 28, 2008 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

In the grand scheme of things, this is but one drop in the bucket of schemes that have been and are being perpetrated by the uber-rich, to avoid helping those who have made them that way.
The inequities of the current system are shown very clearly in the video, what poor person has their own lawyer to advise them on tax matters. If a poor person is lucky, they can go to H&R;Block to get some tax advice. All this against the backdrop of the uber-rich making millions in interest, while the wage slave, you and I, work our fingers to the bone for a pittance of what the owner of the company we work for gets away with “murder” when it comes to the taxes they pay on their income.
It is completely outrageous that there exists in the wealthiest nation in the world, such disparity between the worker and the owner. I am appalled that the shrub, has even worked to lower the tax burden on those of the uber-rich, for whom a million dollars a day is nothing. While we, the people who make this country work, get nothing and receive nothing for our hard and often drudgery type of labour. 
Given these facts isn’t it about time that there was a general strike in this country to shut down all work for one week, this would put an anvil int the pants of those for whom we labour. I for one, am for a shutdown of this country, we can and should show the “ruling elite” who are the real bosses. No one should have to shoulder the burden of paying the taxes for the rich that this country makes us do. Stand up America, or lose whatever rights you have soon to show the world the courage and intestinal fortitude that made this country great.

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By Outraged, July 27, 2008 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

WSJ quote: “As the wealthiest Americans’ share of income has risen, so has their share of the income-tax burden. The group paid 39.9% of all income taxes in 2006, compared with 27.6% in 1988. In the most recently reported five years, however, the share of income reported by the very wealthy has risen faster than the group’s share of income taxes.”

While this may be true, it’s only half the story.  They don’t PAY most of the taxes they owe.  According to a news video at American News Project, they projectedly owe $100 Billion on money they have funneled elsewhere in order to evade paying their fair share.  Harry Hanbury @ American News Project (approx 9min):

These yuppity-yups undermine the stabiliy of their own county, are slapping in the face those who do pay their taxes EVEN WHILE their own tax percentage has never been lower….can you think of anyone sleazier…?  Get a load of the pork-fed lawyers too… disgusting.

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