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How Unequal We Are: Top 5 Facts about the Wealthiest One Percent of Americans

As the ongoing occupation of Wall Street by hundreds of protesters enters its third week and as protests spread to other cities such as Boston and Los Angeles demonstrators have endorsed a new slogan: "We are the 99 percent." This slogan refers an economic struggle between 99 percent of Americans and the richest one percent of Americans, who are increasingly accumulating a greater share of the national wealth.

It may shock you exactly how wealthy this top 1 percent of Americans is.
 http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/10/03/334156/top-five-wealthiest-one-percent/

How Unequal We Are: The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans

By Zaid Jilani on Oct 3, 2011 at 11:25 am

As the ongoing occupation of Wall Street by hundreds of protesters enters its third week and as protests spread to other cities such as Boston and Los Angeles demonstrators have endorsed a new slogan: "We are the 99 percent." This slogan refers an economic struggle between 99 percent of Americans and the richest one percent of Americans, who are increasingly accumulating a greater share of the national wealth to the detriment of the middle class.

It may shock you exactly how wealthy this top 1 percent of Americans is. ThinkProgress has assembled five facts about this class of super-rich Americans:

1. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Owns 40 Percent Of The Nation's Wealth: As Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz points out, the richest 1 percent of Americans now own 40 percent of the nation's wealth. Sociologist William Domhoff illustrates this wealth disparity using 2007 figures where the top 1 percent owned 42 percent of the country's financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home). How much does the bottom 80 percent own? Only 7 percent:

As Stiglitz notes, this disparity is much worse than it was in the past, as just 25 years ago the top 1 percent owned 33 percent of national wealth.

2. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Take Home 24 Percent Of National Income: While the richest 1 percent of Americans take home almost a quarter of national income today, in 1976 they took home just 9 percent meaning their share of the national income pool has nearly tripled in roughly three decades.

3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half Of The Country's Stocks, Bonds, And Mutual Funds: The Institute for Policy Studies illustrates this massive disparity in financial investment ownership, noting that the bottom 50 percent of Americans own only .5 percent of these investments:

4. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Have Only 5 Percent Of The Nation's Personal Debt:

Using 2007 figures, sociologist William Domhoff points out that the top 1 percent have 5 percent of the nation's personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent of total debt:

5. The Top 1 Percent Are Taking In More Of The Nation's Income Than At Any Other Time Since The 1920s: Not only are the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans taking home a tremendous portion of the national income, but their share of this income is greater than at any other time since the Great Depression, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates in this chart using 2007 data:

As Professor Elizabeth Warren has explained, "there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody... Part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along." More and more often, that is not occurring, giving the protesters ample reason to take to the streets.

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Update

For an excellent resource about how much income Americans at these different income levels have, see the Tax Policy Center.  http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/displayatab.cfm?Docid=2977&DocTypeID=7 The top one percent of Americans have an average income of $1.5 million.

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See also (Michael Parenti): The Super Rich Are Out of Sight
 http://dissidentvoice.org/Articles/Parenti_SuperRich.htm

homepage: homepage: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/10/03/334156/top-five-wealthiest-one-percent/

discussion

nobody is talking about taxing wealth 08.Oct.2011 06:28

justsomedude

Those millionaire/billionaire senators you voted for are not talking about taxing weath. they want to tax income.

they have already made their money, thats why they are perfectly happy talking about taxing income. (new money).

you really think John Kerry is going to tax his wife's billions? fuck no. thats why he wants to tax your income.

Question 08.Oct.2011 09:26

<00>

@Justsomedude-I am either not reading the article correctly or am misinterpreting your comment.

Can you direct us to statements from the rich senators that you are talking about who clearly state that they are not taxing wealth, but new money? I think I am confused about accumulated wealth. You are not defining wealth as income. How can wealth not be counted as income as a person's wealth originates as income?

Thanks!

ok 08.Oct.2011 10:50

Clyde

Wealth is already acquired income. It is already in your possession. It may be in the form of a bank account balance, property, assets, yachts, or real estate, but it is not being taxed (except for interest earned on investments, etc)

Income is money you are actively making. Your payroll check, contractor payments, etc. That is taxed. Not wealth (or not in the same way, anyway, and not nearly to the same degree)

wealth is not income 08.Oct.2011 11:00

justsomedude

Ok, perhaps I'm not being clear.
Bill Gates, who has some $60,000,000,000.00 to his own name.
Almost all of it in stock, but for arguments sake lets say 100 percent of it is in stock.
If he doesn't sell it, does not collect any dividend income from it, he has no income and therefore doesn't pay any taxes.
Obama and the Democrat's tax proposals are for only taxing Income and not Wealth.
Many very wealth people have their money in Municipal bonds which are tax free, and none of the new laws proposed plan to tax any of that.
If you listen to Harry Reid, Obama, etc. They are talking about taxing "Incomes over $1,000,000". Not wealth.
Most financial planners tell the very wealthy, you have already made your millions, no reason to risk losing it. Invest it in Muni-bonds.
The Donald Trumps of the country don't live in their own homes or fly in their own jets. Trump flies in Trump Inc.'s jet and lives in Trump Inc.'s house and swims in Trump Inc.'s pool, etc.
Trump has a battalion of tax attorneys making sure all of this is written off so he pays as low a percentage of taxes as possible. In fact, if he draws no personal salary from Trump Inc, he could technically apply for food stamps.
Back to Rich Senators.
None of them are talking about Taxing Wealth, only income because they have already made their money at cheap republican tax rates over the years.
Now they want to tax anybody making money (income) at a higher rate. Not just millionaires. There are new airline fees and a bunch crap in this new "jobs" bill. That effect everyone.
The millionaires and corporations have tax attorneys to find ways out of paying taxes and the little guy, the small business owner and individuals are the ones who have to pay the full weight because they can't pay for tax people to cut their rates.
My point is, if you go to a town hall with some congressman or senator and they are talking about the rich paying their fair share, as them if the would support a 5% WEALTH tax on ALL WEALTH above a million dollars and watch how fast they change the subject and talk about the Baseball playoffs or something else.

Oh! 08.Oct.2011 11:27

<00>

So, in order to not be taxed, one has to be wealthy...

Devil's advocate: Anyone on here think this is fair?

fair? 08.Oct.2011 15:31

justsomedude

Well, almost all rich people probably pay way more taxes than you and I put together.
I'm sure Bill Gate's Property Taxes for his multi-million dollar home is more in one year than all the property taxes you and I will pay over our lifetime.
That being said, yes. The VERY generally pay about the same tax RATE as the very poor in this country. Somewhere around 15 percent.
If they had capital losses greater than their capital gains for that year, they paid no taxes. (at least state and federal income taxes).
Now, if you are spending your life searching for "FAIR", then you will be continually disappointed.
Personally I don't and never have worried about how much money someone else makes or keeps.
Worrying about what someone else has or does is no different than right wing evangelicals sticking their nose into my reproductive rights, my bedroom and where I stick my dick.
I only care when those same people try and take something of mine.
The rich will always find always to get around tax laws by putting their money someplace out of the reach of US Government. They will park their money overseas.
The Singer Tina Turner and other rich former Americans for example is and has been a Citizen of Monaco and pays no taxes in America or Monaco under their law.
Corporations are no different. Right now the US Government is debating how to give US Corporations some sort of deal to repatriate over 2 Trillion dollars that was earned outside the US but is not being taxed because those corporations would have to pay 35 percent on those earnings as they do on earnings already made in the US. So it sits outside the reach of the US Government.
The moment the US Government moved to wright laws to seize that money, those corporations would move their Headquarters outside the US and the US Government would lose over trillions each year in lost tax income.
So and the end of the day, what someone else defines as fairness is like chasing a rainbow.