Democrats & Liberals Archives

Hyper-Rich Getting Hyper-Richer

Since the Reagan era, the divide between rich and poor in America has increased dramatically. As it turns out, the hyper-rich, top one-tenth of one percent are also dramatically outpacing the merely rich,

Draw a line under the top 0.1 percent of income earners - the top one-thousandth. Above that line are about 145,000 taxpayers... The share of the nation's income earned by those in this uppermost category has more than doubled since 1980... The share of income earned by the rest of the top 10 percent rose far less, and the share earned by the bottom 90 percent fell.

And the Bush tax cuts are quickly turning the gap between the rich and the rest of us into a Grand Canyon. If everybody got the same percentage tax cut - say, 10% across the board - it would be hard to complain, but the wealthy really make out like bandits with the Bush tax scheme. As of 2004, here's how it breaks down,

Income
Bracket
Income
Range
PopulationTax Cut
As % Of
Income
Top 1%$383,500
- $87,000,000+
1.4 million12%
95% - 99%$162,000
- $383,500
5.8 million8%
80% - 95%$79,500
- $162,000
21.2 million8%
60% - 80%$44,500
- $79,500
29 million7%
40% - 60%$26,000
- $44,500
29 million7%
20% - 40%$13,500
- $26,000
30 million7%
Lowest 20%$0 - $13,50028 million3%

Let me make this really clear, because I know some yo-yo is going to come back with the lame-ass "rich people get more money back because they make more money," argument: This has nothing to do with dollar amounts.

Of the 100% of salary you pulled in last year, you got 3 to 8 percent of it back in tax cuts; the wealthiest one percent of Americans got 12 percent of theirs back.

But wait, it gets better for the rich. The tax cuts that really, really favor the already wealthy - the dividend, capital gains, and estate tax cuts - were designed to kick in gradually after 2005. The vast majority of Americans will not see any additional tax cuts, but the bounty keeps multiplying for the rich.

Some fun facts:

  • The Iraq war has cost about $200 billion. By 2010, Bush's tax cuts that disproportionately favor the rich will have cost us $2 trillion. We could have ten Iraq wars for that price!
  • The top one percent elite alone will get a half-trillion dollars in Bush tax cuts - enough for two Iraq wars and a second Korean war!
  • The Department of Homeland Defense budget for the last three years totaled $93.2 billion - a mere 5% of the Bush tax cuts that disproportionately favor the wealthy.
That kinda shoots down in flames the argument that the deficit has anything to do with the war or 9/11. Rolling back the Bush tax cuts for just the top 1 percent of the wealthiest of the wealthy would cover the cost twice over. It's all about priorities.

Posted by American Pundit at June 8, 2005 11:02 AM