Sunday, May 15, 2011

Since 1980, the Tax Benefits of America's Wealthiest 1% Have Tripled -- And It's Not Trickling Down

Since 1980, the Tax Benefits of America's Wealthiest 1% Have Tripled -- And It's Not Trickling Down

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Squeezing, gouging, soaking, it's all the same, and it's all wrong. The
richest Americans, we hear it said, pay most of the federal income taxes.
That's true. But since 1980 their tax benefits have
tripled. That's a trillion dollars a year in extra income for the
wealthiest 1%.

A trillion dollars is seven times more than the budget deficits of all 50
states combined.

A trillion dollars, if it hadn't been redistributed to the rich, would
provide an extra $10,000 a year for every family that has contributed to
American productivity since 1980.

The defenders of unlimited wealth insist that the very rich have earned
their money. But what does earn mean? Does it mean that the million
richest families worked harder than the other 99 million families for
thirty years? Does it mean that one man can bet against the mortgage
industry and make enough money to pay the salaries of 100,000 health care
workers? Does it mean using American research and infrastructure and
national security to build a corporation that pays zero federal income
taxes?

Most of the fortunate 1% benefited from tax cuts, financial system
de-regulation, ownership of 50% of the stock market, and a 15% capital
gains tax. According to a study by the University of California, in 2008
only 19% of the income reported by the 13,480 individuals or families
making over $10 million came from wages and salaries.

The very rich claim that their income growth stimulates the economy. But
it hasn't happened. Low-income earners spend a greater percentage of their
overall income on consumption, but they have less purchasing power than
they had thirty years ago.

What the very rich won't admit is that they benefit the most from
government-funded research, national security, infrastructure, property
rights, and a financial industry tailored to their pleasure and profit.

Instead, they claim that anyone can be rich if only they work hard. Much
of America wouldn't know if this is true. They haven't had a chance to
work lately.

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