Skip to main content

From 2009-2011, wealth dropped by 4% for bottom 93% of households and rose 28% for top 7% of households.
Household wealth rebounded by $5 trillion in the first two years of the economic recovery, from 2009 to 2011. But, in a familiar story, most of the benefit went to those at the top. The bottom 93 percent of households lost $600 billion, according to Pew Research, while the top 7 percent—those with more than $836,033—gained $5.6 trillion. That's a loss of 4 percent vs. a gain of 28 percent.
Because of these differences, wealth inequality increased during the first two years of the recovery. The upper 7% of households saw their aggregate share of the nation’s overall household wealth pie rise to 63% in 2011, up from 56% in 2009. On an individual household basis, the mean wealth of households in this more affluent group was almost 24 times that of those in the less affluent group in 2011. At the start of the recovery in 2009, that ratio had been less than 18-to-1.
The main reason for this difference is that the stock market rose while the housing market stayed flat, and people at the top are more likely to hold financial assets, while those at the bottom and in the middle have more of their assets in their houses. In fact, the percentage of less affluent households with stocks, mutual fund shares, and IRAs actually declined between 2009 and 2011. (And, of course, there are plenty of people who have little in the way of wealth at all.)
2009-2011: Households with net worth $499,999 and below lost 10% of assets in homes, cars, business, property, gained 10% of financial assets. Households with net worth $500,000 and above lost 18% assets in homes, cars, business, property, gained 63% financial assets.
Just one more data point showing how a few at the very top really live in a different world from everyone else.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Dream Menders, Daily Kos Economics, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Seems to me that the solution has to be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Balto, VClib, Sparhawk

    something that provides the opportunity for workers to become more skilled in marketable areas and so to be able to earn more income.  

    We are moving, I think, into an era where unskilled labor is less and less valuable, because it is becoming more easily (and more cheaply) replaced.  The well-paying jobs that someone with just a high school diploma (and no additional training) used to be able to get a generation ago are disappearing, moving overseas where labor is cheap and/or being replaced by technology, automation, etc. As  we move forward, knowledge and skills will become more and more valuable.  So, as a society, we need to provide the opportunity for people to gain skills that will enable them to command more in the way of income.  Not everybody is going to be the next Bill Gates. Not everybody can become super rich. But we need to become a society where anyone who is willing to learn marketable skills or get an advanced education, and to combine that with a lot of hard work, can become comfortably middle-class or upper middle class.  There are always going to be people who make the wrong choices in life, and whose earning potential suffers for that.  But we need to be able to say to those people, "you've made some bad choices (dropped out of school, had a child as a teenager, whatever) so it's going to be harder for you to get there than if you had made better choices, but if you are willing to get the training and skills necessary, and with a lot of hard work, you still can improve your situation."  

    Of course, you also can impose something like the Buffet Rule on the super-rich.  But that is mostly a symbolic gesture -- the amount of money it raises is almost negligible in terms of the overall federal government spending.  The focus needs to be on opportunity for those at the bottom to gain the skills, education, and/or training so that, with hard work, they are able to earn more.  

    •  The solution is redistribution of wealth. (11+ / 0-)

      That's what governments do.  For a span of decades, the US government was devoted to making the wealthiest, healthiest, and not incidentally most-productive Middle Class the world had ever seen.

      Then, for a span of about forty years, business interests took over the US government and converted it to a well-armed and fearless wealth sucking monster the reversed all the gains that had made America great.

      No amount of training or worker-preparation or technology will reverse the abject failure of our government to provide for the Middle Class.

      Vote rape. Vote torture. Vote War Crimes. Vote with the American top 1%.

      by Yellow Canary on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:47:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. But remember that (6+ / 0-)

        the middle class paradise we desribe needed a war on poverty.  The good old days were better than this for many people, but they relaly were not all that good, at least not for all.

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:58:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How do you propose to do that? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Balto, VClib, Sparhawk

        The federal government can't seize wealth, absent a conviction of a crime.  The 5th Amendment applies to rich people, too. This country is based on a principle that you have a right to the property you earn.

        The federal government can't even tax wealth without a constitutional amendment (like the 16th amendment was necessary to tax incomes).

        The Buffet Rule, which would impose an EFFECTIVE federal individual income tax rate of 30% on incomes starting at $1 million a year, would be the highest EFFECTIVE individual income tax rate we've ever had (at least since 1979, when the CBO began keeping that data).   See the SECOND chart here. And it raises less than $5 billion a year over the next 10 years.

        The solution is not "redistribution of wealth" -- there's not enough "wealth" in the .001% (the top 1% begins at two income households around $400,000 IIRC) to redistribute to   the other 99.999% of households to make much of an impact. It's a symbolic gesture, but that's all it is.  The solution is ways for people to earn more and earn their way into the middle class.  

        •  Tax and Spend. Cut war spending by 1/2. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Habitat Vic

          Rebuild every school in America.  Double teacher's salaries.  Enforce regulations that promote level competition.  Eliminate monopolies.  Double-down on a New New Deal to overcome the raw deal we've been supporting for forty years.  Re-instate the draft, and make sure the rich serve fairly.  Create a GI Bill for today.  Don't exclude non-whites from housing benefits (a lot of Middle Class wealth was accumulated through real estate, from which non-whites were, in effect, excluded).  &c.

          (Force Cheney and Rumsfeld  and their painting monkey to find and return each of the billions in cash that went missing during their little War of Aggression.)

          I'm sure my Kos-kin can round this out to a good US super-size program of investment that promotes the Middle Class.  The rich will always take care of themselves.

          Vote rape. Vote torture. Vote War Crimes. Vote with the American top 1%.

          by Yellow Canary on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:45:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There are a lot of things we can do... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Klusterpuck

          There are actually straight forward fixes if there was political will to do them.

          The government of France pays half per capita in medical cost than the U.S. government does. In spite of that, they have free health care for all and we have tens of thousands of preventable deaths every year due to lack of health care and more bankruptcies due to individual medical care debt than any other reason.  If we went to a universal health care, we should be able to have twice as good of a system as France does without raising taxes a nickle (after the initial cost for conversion).  

          Even if we didn't go all the way to universal healthcare, allowing medicare to negotiate drug prices and forcing pharmaceutical companies to create a drug better than an existing treatment as opposed to a sugar pill to earn a pattent would go a long way.  They could also test and promote successful home remedies and safe alternative treatments (along with legalizing marijauana) to lower costs.

          The government could eliminate the Social Security tax cap because it would just be fair, treat all income as earned income and tax every investment trade at 0.01% per trade.  

          The government could simply stop giving subsidies to prosperous industries who no longer need our assistence.  It could also withdrawl from all trade agreements that do not have provisions for worker safety, environmental protections and a minimum wage at least half of our federal minimum wage.  Tarriffs should be applied to any country not meeting these minimum standards.

          The defense department needs to be cut back to only the basic needs.  Stop buying weapons and aircraft and boats that we do not need or even want simply to appease lobbiests and congressional districts donors.  Target a spending reduction plan that focuses on manufacturing and process improvement that cuts an additional 2% each year from the defense budget over the next ten years.  All of that cost could be eliminated simply in waste elimination without lessoning our country's defense capabilities.  Start charging wealthy foreign countries we currently protect for that protection.

          Increase the staffing of the IRS and the SEC.  Each staff member collects more money than they cost the country so adding staff will actually reduce overall costs.  Sieze illegally offshored assetts that are currently being hidden to avoid taxes.  We know where it is and we kow who is hiding it so rather than giving them a tax holiday that evidence shows does not work, threaten seizure and arrest which we know does work.  Arrest criminals that break the law in high finance and seize their assets like we doe if someone is caught with a little bit of marajuana in their car.

          Do not subsidize religion and make believe charities of rich people.  Most charities in this country are set up as tax shelters and you have probably never even heard of them.  They are set up in complicated schemes devoted to keeping rich people from paying taxes.  Quit using tax dollars to subsidize these charities.  

          Give undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship so that mega-corporations will quit using them like slave labor.  Make the pathway steeper than those who came here legally, make them pay a penalty tax but give them rights and give them a clear path.  Make them pay 5% of their wages matched by their employer to give Americans a fair chance at the job.  This money can be used to cover the additional costs associated with increased undocumented workers.  This penalty should be eliminated after two years of staying away from legal troubles.  At that point, the undocumented worker would aquire a green card and start the documented process of becoming a legal citizen.  Deferments could be granted for family military service or extenuating circumstances.

          A huge infastructure bill using every dollar saved and from the increased revenue could practically eliminate the unemployment rate and the new jobs and the pent up demand would lead to record sales for corporation.  Everybody wins.  Competition for the best workers would increase wages and the snowball would grow the economy.  Even the inevitable inflation would help reduce the percentage of people's wages spent on current debt that is still way too high and reduce the wealth ratio by reducing the value of stagnated capital here and overseas.

          I could go on and on about prison recitivism, drug abuse, even abortion, crime and just about everything else.

          You see, there are solutions to all of the problems this country faces but the people with the money do not want to change the status quo because they are making a killing the way it is.

          P.S. You may argue about the technical merits of some of my suggestions here and we could have a wonderful, long debate about each one of them but the point is that there are things that would address the growing inequity in this country but the people who are reaping the benfits are also the ones buying campaigns so finding the solution is not the problem, it is finding a way to implement it.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 01:07:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not sure I go along with this: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            "Start charging wealthy foreign countries we currently protect for that protection."

            Otherwise I am for all of it.  Are you running for office or applying for a gov't job?  I'll vote for you!

            The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

            by DSPS owl on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 05:49:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  before you suggest ways for (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jbsoul, JesseCW

          the neglected under- and middle class to "earn" their way into the middle class, I suggest for the privileged upper class to "to earn" their way out of their privileges, before they might lose them, because the system will crash.

          I better leave, this coffee talk is unbecoming to me, I just spit out my coffee, so frustrated do the talk make me.

        •  Of course the government can seize wealth! Pshaw. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DSPS owl, JesseCW

          All you have to do is tax it. And there is plenty of it to tax.

          •  Federal government can't tax wealth (0+ / 0-)

            without apportioning it among the States.  The 16th Amendment was necessary for a federal income tax to be constitutional. That's a transactional tax -- it's a tax triggered by the transaction of money going from one person to another.  You'd need to pass a similar constitutional amendment for a federal wealth tax (i.e. a tax on property, including money, that someone has accumulated over the years).

            Just as an example, if someone has $10 million in the bank at on January 1, 2013, you can tax the income they get from  that $10 million (like the interest) in 2013.  You can't tax the $10 million.  

            •  At some point, all property changes hands. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW

              That's all you have to do. At that point, you tax. And depending on how you structure it, you can make it less taxing or more taxing depending on how and when it changes hands.

              •  That's an income tax. (0+ / 0-)

                And the Buffet Rule, which says that at certain income levels, the federal government takes 1/3 of all money that "changes hands" (regardless if it's earned income, capital gains income, or whatever) raises only about $4 billion a year over the next decade.  

                Even if you raised that up to taking half of all money that changes hands, you are talking about maybe $6 or $7 billion a year.

                My point is fine, go ahead pass the Buffet Rule or something like it.  It's little more than a symbolic gesture, because it doesn't raise enough money to actually DO anything much about the systematic problem.  

                •  Not at all. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW, DrCoyle65

                  We could impose a financial transactions tax. The United States imposed this tax on stock sales for 50 years. The minor tax that we collect now, the Section 31 fee, is .0034 and applies only to stocks. We could up and expand that to all sorts of things, especially derivatives. Right now, the SEC expects to levy a total of $845 million bucks of Section 31 fees on a total of $24.4 trillion worth of transactions. That's just for 2013. We could easily get that fee up to .1%, expand it beyond equities to include bonds and derivatives, and collect a trillion in the first year.

                  Hello balanced budget.

                  •  What's more, we can ramp the estate tax (0+ / 0-)

                    up massively, and start destroying the various "estate planning" stunts used to avoid it.

                    Only two things in life are certain, and that's why they ought to go together.

                    "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

                    by JesseCW on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 08:59:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I should add, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW

                  that opponents of a tenth of a percent transactions tax argue that transactions would move offshore and then prove noncollectable. Bullshit. Almost all financial transactions these days occur electronically, making them extremely easy to collect. Furthermore, firms that do business in the U.S. or operate on U.S. securities, indices or derivatives can deemed "American" and then enforced appropriately. And criminal, not civil, penalties will ensure that U.S. nationals comply or face prison. Nor would it be difficult to use American power to get a treaty to make extradition of evaders easier.

        •  The Federal Government can tax anything it damn (0+ / 0-)

          well pleases, including a decision not to buy a corporate insurance product.

          That includes, but is not limited to, every stock or bond transaction or sale of precious metals.

          "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

          by JesseCW on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 08:57:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yellow Canary - the available tools are limited (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk

        Given the constraints, both legal and political, it is difficult for the federal government to redistribute wealth on a large scale. We can't have a wealth tax in the US without a Constitutional Amendment, like we did for the income tax (16th Amendment). The estate tax can help, but even higher income taxes won't impact existing wealth. Higher income taxes would make it harder to accumulate more wealth and could stop the upper middle class from becoming wealthy.  

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:28:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Change the spousal exemption on the estate tax (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, Klusterpuck

          Instead of allowing an unlimited amount of wealth to go to a surviving spouse, cap this at even $50 million (yes a high number that can be lowered over time).  In addition, limit the ability to reduce the taxable estate by charitable deductions while a person is alive or deceased to 20%.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:48:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The reason the Buffet Rule raises negligible (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfromga, Mary Mike, Klusterpuck

      income is because it does not go nearly far enough.

      What we need to reverse the impact of three decades of wealth redistribution in the form of societal attitudes toward what the rich deserve and government policy that no longer supports unsupportable accumulation of wealth.

      Re-skilling America is a small, though admittedly important, part of the solution.

      What is happening is that a small percentage of people in America are taking all the credit for the country's prosperity.

      You simply can't justify increasing the income share of the 1% going from 8.7% in 1979 to 23.5% in 2010.

      You simply can't justify executive compensation increasing from 42 X average working pay to 350 X.

      These are both unsupportable AND unsustainable.

      The 1% has become a parasite prepared to kill its hosts, both people and planet.

      Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

      by Words In Action on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:07:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And what do you propose? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Balto, VClib, Sparhawk

        a 30% effective tax rate -- i.e., the Buffet Rule --  is higher than this country has ever had on the top 1%.  See the SECOND chart here for effective individual income tax rates (based on CBO data).  In 1979, when top marginal rates were 70%, the EFFECTIVE individual income tax rate on the top 1% was only 22.7%.

        There's not enough billionaires to fund the rest of the country.  That's why the Buffet Rule raises so little money, relatively speaking.  It starts at household income of $1 million a year.  There just aren't that many households that have an income over $1 million a year.    

        •  You didn't justify the unjustifiable, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Klusterpuck

          merely re-asserted that fixing it wouldn't be enough.

          What you fail to factor is that the demand that would be created by more broadly distributed income and wealth, rather than having it hoarded and not circulating in the real economy, would heat up the economy.

          And you only go to prove my point, which is that the Buffet Rule was not nearly enough. Yeah, not enough millionaires. But plenty more people in the top 1-2%.

          Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

          by Words In Action on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:43:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How about a flat tax? (0+ / 0-)

            I know, I know, everybody screams that it would be regressive but I disagree.  What if there were a 30% flat tax on all income, regardless of where it comes from (e.g. earned, capital games, carried interest, etc...) and the only deduction was the poverty rate?  Social security and medicare would be included in the 30%.

            There are some difficulties with the finer aspects of corproate taxes but none are insurmountable.  I think it would work.  This way, we would never charge taxes to poor people and those closest to poverty would pay the least.  A tax deduction of $25,000 dollars would be like no tax deduction at all for Warren Buffet but for someone making $15.00/hour, total taxes (including Social security and medicare) would be only about 5%.  

            Earned income could be applied to the poorest people to bring them up towards the poverty level (kind of like negative taxes).

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 01:23:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Much of the top 2% already pays (0+ / 0-)

            an effective tax rate of 25% or so, due to the Alternative Minimum Tax. Because the 2% is household (2 incomes) of maybe $250,000 or up, that's people who work for a living, but are well paid -- a middle-aged accountant married to a police captain, a dentist married to a 20 year teacher, an engineer married to a mid-level manager in a large corporation.  

            These are not hedge fund managers or trust fund babies, but typically people who make a very good living largely because they got an advanced education and/or worked all their lives to get where they are. I don't think that there's a whole lot of support in this country for redistributing their wealth.

      •  And let me make clear (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        that I am not arguing against something like the Buffet Rule. I'm fine with something like that.  After all, people who are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax -- at incomes far lower than $1 million -- already pay an effective federal income tax rate above $25%.  All I am saying is that kind of thing is negligible in terms of actually solving the problem.

    •  yes, if only all those (3+ / 0-)

      underskilled guys with phd's in science would get some education.

      Or all the school teachers, fireman and policeman who have been laid off would get some useful skills.   And it would be great if middle management with their business degrees wouldn't get old and laid off at 52, they would be marketable.

      Yes, there is very high unemployment amongst the unskilled and ethnic groups that are traditionally last hired and first fired.   But it isn't lack of willingness to do hard work for the vast majority of them. I know too many of them working two jobs, many going back to school.  Many of whom take the jobs they can get if they are minority, because many doors are still closed down here outside of government.

      This pious, if only you would go to college and work hard, you too would succeed is just so much bull these days.  Lots of young people who got degrees are still hoping for a chance to ask, do you want fries with that, as they can't get steady work at all.  Too many older people let go that no one will rehire.

      And the continual drain of removing pensions, benefits, cutting hours, dumping more responsibilities on workers with no raises, etc., not to mention the stripping of value from the real estate market, has steadily eroded the middle class.  

      •  Facts are stubborn things (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Balto, VClib, Sparhawk

        The unemployment rate for people with a bachelor's or higher was 3.7% last month, and hasn't been above 4.2% for the past year.

        The unemployment rate for those with less than a high school diploma was 12% last month.

        Yes, there are people with college degrees who are unemployed and not by choice.  But you are far, far, far more likely to be employed if you have a college degree.  And if you choose a high-demand degree, like engineering, you are in even better shape.

        And it doesn't have to be college.  Some high schools, once upon a time, had vocational training -- plumbers, auto mechanics, welders, electricians, HVAC, etc. -- and the prospect of those people making a good living are far, far, far better than someone who drops out of high school.  

        Getting a marketable skill and working hard is not a guarantee of anything.  But there's no question that it greatly, greatly increases your chances of moving into the middle class.

        And this is EXACTLY the point:

        I know too many of them working two jobs, many going back to school
        We should make it easier for people who have made bad choices to go back to school or to get a skill so as to improve their own lives.  

        Government should be making sure people have the opportunity to make their own lives better, and provide a safety net for those who CANNOT take advantage of those opportunities to make their own lives better.

        •  and the point of this article (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Klusterpuck

          was that the middle class is being systematically drained of resources despite all the things that they have done to be middle class.

          And the reality of trying to get a good education and move up, is not borne out by the facts.   Parents income level dictates your potential income level even more than in Europe.   We have eliminated moving up as a practical matter.   I think that the attacks on public education are further killing the chances for kids from being able to move up.

          It is great you want to make it easier, but as long as you characterize the challenges as personal, failings of the individual instead of seeing the systemic biases in education and opportunity, the persistance of racism, the crappy immigration policies and the devaluing of labor at a job, the changes in technology that is making even more skilled laborers obsolete, you are helping the FAUX News conservatives.

          •  The challenges are both personal and systematic (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Balto, VClib, Sparhawk

            The data clearly, clearly, clearly shows that personal choices can make a huge difference in the likelihood that you will better your own earning capacity.  So, yes, we do have people who make poor choices in life and hurt their own potential.  That's part of the issue, but by no means the entirety of the issue.

            The systematic problems are the obstacles that make it more difficult for people to make those good choices for themselves and for them to succeed when they make those good choices.  The systematic solution is to make it easier for people to make the right choices, and to make sure that when they do make the right choices, there are realistic opportunities for success. And, finally, there needs to be a safety need for people who cannot provide for themselves, or for people who need temporary assistance as they take steps to open up those opportunities (retraining, etc.)

            Those on the left who say it has nothing to do with personal choices are as wrong as those on the right who say that it's entirely about personal choices.  In reality, it's a combination of personal choices, and systematic problems that make it more difficult for people to make good choices.  

            Again, if you want to tax the rich more, fine.  Go ahead and tax millionaires and billionaires more.  But as I said elsewhere, the money is not going to be enough to make any kind of real systematic difference, because there aren't enough households with incomes over $1 million (see my link to how much the Buffet Rule raises in my other comment).  It's a symbolic gesture at best. It doesn't solve the problem.

            •  but making good choices (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Klusterpuck

              is no longer solving the problem.  All the projections are todays graduates aren't going to reach the level of financial security of their parents if they aren't already at the top.

              So now it is time to ask why all productivity increases produce profits but not wages.  Why it is right to see the rising disparity in executive compensation while wages are static or falling (by not paying more or by cutting hours) and benefits are wiped out,   why is minimum wage so disproportionately low compared to living costs.

              Not everyone is college material, not everyone is going to be skilled,  and people still want fast food.   SHould the wages not reflect the cost of living and labor be added to the product cost?  Same with Walmart, we are all subsidizing profits.

              It isn't about taxing millionaires, it is about more employment opportunities, paying wages that pay for rent, food and fuel, and letting consumers decide what is worth buying.  We need to stop the corporate welfare of paying medicaid for low paid workers and then moralizing about these workers making bad life choices.

              •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                So now it is time to ask why all productivity increases produce profits but not wages.  
                Automation and de-skilling.

                A lot of medium skilled work has been replaced by computers and machines. Previously skilled work can be done faster and cheaper by machines.

                That just leaves technical professionals on the one hand, and low-skilled workers on the other. There are less opportunities to contribute because those opportunities routinely require significant technical skills (technical skills can be skills like plumbing, too).

                But the mere ability to be a 'good worker' and read/follow instructions is not good enough.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:57:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  not totally true (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Klusterpuck

                  the employment statistics support the idea that fewer workers are being used, and others covering more hours and work, that many employers don't pay overtime as required by law, etc., all increasing profits, but none go to the remaining workers.  Further, even if all unskilled labor is replaced, leaving only the technocrats, that doesn't explain why real income is still falling for the middle class, because they supply the technocratic workers.

                  Further,  they are outsourcing the technocratic work as well, and offshoring it whenever possible, further eroding the middle class.  Laying all the blame on shiftless, uneducated workers doesn't pass on the facts of modern labor practices.

              •  Excellent comment-- thank you. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jbsoul

                That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

                by concernedamerican on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:11:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  A large part of the College degree advantage is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jfromga, Klusterpuck

          who gets the job when only a high school education is actually needed.

          The following article discusses how 1/2 of college graduates are doing work that does not require a college degree http://www.npr.org/...

          VEDDER: Well, it means there's a lot of people that are going to college, I suspect most of them with expectations that upon graduation they will make a pretty good living and live sort of an upper middle-class American life. But instead, a lot of them are getting jobs upon graduation working as bartenders, taxi drivers - a million of them are retail sales clerks, 115,000 of them are janitors. They're getting jobs that I'm fairly certain are less than what they're expected when they began the college experience.
          Except for instances where there is a shortage of people with specific college or graduate degrees, increasing the number of college graduates does nothing to lower unemployment.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:12:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We're skilled. But why pay one American when (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, JesseCW

      for the same money you get six Chinese or Indians? Look at the H-1B visa, where fully qualified US workers get fired so we can have Cheaper workers come to the US. There's a Bill to increase the number of such from 65,000 to 180,000.

      No, it ain't our fault so many industries have uprooted themselves from the US and gone out of our borders. And with official encouragement and even subsidies, to do so.

      Blaming the victim is odious, in any circumstance.


      Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

      by Jim P on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:39:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Stop looking at the trees. There is a forest there (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      I hate to get all wonky, but labor in a macro-economic sense does not care about that shit. The labor pool's size, skills, education level, etc., are all set for the time being. On a national scale, this cannot be effected in any way by policy. The labor pool we have is the labor pool we have. What policies we enact going forward will matter in 10, 20, 30 years, but we have a population of laborers today that need jobs and industries to support them.

      If where our economy is at today cannot support the labor pool we have, the public sector MUST step in to provide increased opportunities. That could involve anything from minimum wage increases to public works programs. The built up economic gains from increased wages (taxes) and infrastructure (supporting increased economic activity) can then be reinvested in the next generation of laborers such that less needs to be spent by the public to support the future pool of educated laborers.

      Where income inequality matters is pretty basic. The rich are not paying a fair share into the safety net system that lifts our children out of poverty. Impoverished children have been statistically shown to have less educational success. Take away child poverty, the educational disparity shrinks to a size that is much much easier to deal with... with the added benefit that the next generation of laborers have the skills needed to thrive in a modern economy.

      Refuse to invest today, you can certainly expect no gains going forward.

      “Birds…scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth. They know the truth. Screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears, but sadly we don’t speak bird.” Kurt Cobain

      by RadicalParrot on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:46:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

      the knowledge and skills required today, are cunning and political prowess.

      As  we move forward, knowledge and skills will become more and more valuable.
      The trumping of knowledge and skills - by the desire for ever cheaper labor, is evident in nearly every industry - skilled or not.

      In a capitalist democracy - every dollar is a "vote" ... spend wisely ...

      by RUNDOWN on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 06:13:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is so wrong on so many levels. (0+ / 0-)

      You have perfectly well educated people trained in cutting edge technology who find themselves unemployed in this economy.  I did everything right.  I made straight A's in high school, went to college, and graduated as a woman with a mechanical engineering degree in 1982, just in time for Reagan's recession.  Unable to find a job in my field, I joined the Air Force.  I have worked steadily since then in many different capacities until this recession hit.  I know other female engineers who are also unemployed.  The company my friend worked for was bought out by a venture capitalist who raided the pension fund and then sold the company back to the workers.  With the company stripped of capital, it was forced into bankruptcy.  My friend now receives pennies on the dollar for the pension she paid into for years.  This wasn't a Bain Capital venture, but another company.  Venture capitalism is nothing other than reverse Robin Hood highway robbery allowed by our currently immoral legal system. Women have a harder time getting hired in traditionally male fields.  Smaller firms can be more selective in who they hire and are more comfortable hiring male engineers.  Many younger people think that women in their 50s are technologically illiterate.  I'm not.  Much of the software I used in the 80s is still around now.  Netscape is now Firefox.  WordPerfect is still here.  Dos is still the backbone of PCs.  Asking me to go back to school and get educated isn't necessary.  I have lots of talents and education, the kind that pundits keep saying we need.  I don't think it's a lack of education that is keeping me millions like me out of the work force.

      If...you want to go forward, what do you do? You put [your car] in "D." When you want to go backwards, what do you do? You put it in "R."...That's no coincidence.

      by AnnieS on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 10:21:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is an oft repeated, but untrue argument. (0+ / 0-)
      Of course, you also can impose something like the Buffet Rule on the super-rich.  But that is mostly a symbolic gesture -- the amount of money it raises is almost negligible in terms of the overall federal government spending.
      It is a fact that the Forbes 400 own roughly 3% of the country. $1.5 Trillion is not "negligible".

      I recognize the distinction between wealth and income. However, if our tax policy were sane, we would prevent the very wealthy from scooping up all the assets of the nation.

      Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

      by Tim DeLaney on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:46:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Any and all focus upon the stock market... (7+ / 0-)

    ...as a legitimate indicator of a recovery in this country is, INHERENTLY, a false meme (literally, propaganda) perpetuated by the status quo. This has been statistically supported for a very long time.  (I've been discussing this inconvenient truth within this community since almost the day I joined this place, just under seven years ago.)

    Adding insult to injury is what's really happening in the housing/real estate market, where the next 45% of our society maintain most of their net worth. Again, the "stabilization" and/or "upswing" is as much a byproduct of Wall Street's cash (literally) buying up property in the most depressed markets, thus contorting a greater reality: that if justice had been served in the past five years, this state-sanctioned pillaging by the banks and the monied class would/should never have been allowed to transpire in the first place. And, if anyone has/had been paying attention--especially in the past 30-60 days--they would begin to understand just how blatantly egregious our government has been in this extremely deliberate effort to further ripoff and hollow-out the heart of our society, as well.

    The remaining 45%+ of our society maintain no net worth (of any significance), or negative net worth, living in poverty and/or from paycheck to paycheck, just trying to make ends meet (and that last phrase in this sentence applies to many in the middle class, as well).

    This is the new normal, and it's getting uglier by the day, especially right now, as we blog. The inconvenient truths are all around us, and it's a travesty of huge historical significance and monumentally negative social proportions.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:48:42 AM PDT

    •  You have been a stalwart on these issues. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, Mary Mike, bobswern

      I think this will grow:

      The remaining 45%+ of our society maintain no net worth (of any significance), or negative net worth, living in poverty and/or from paycheck to paycheck, just trying to make ends meet (and that last phrase in this sentence applies to many in the middle class, as well).
      Perhaps it is darkest before the dawn, but I see little on the horizon to suggest any change in this process.  

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:57:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a feature, not a bug. (3+ / 0-)

      Today we saw more boldly stated what many suspected: the stock market is propped up.

      As the Fed lowered interest rates and bought bonds (and thus lowered yields) to shore up the banks, not only have wealthy investors concentrated on accumulating higher-yielding stocks, but so have central banks.  There's your stock market rally.  Because it just would not do for the wealthy or their wholly-owned governments to see anyone else prosper.

    •  On a related note, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobswern, Klusterpuck

      which you have been admirably screaming like a stuck canary about, would one approach be to threaten a "coalition" with those on the right who would also be opposed to such a deal?

      I mean, Obama doesn't give a flying eff about what we on the Left think, but he sure does care about right-wing approval.

      If we threatened to raise the ire of the right by bringing it to their attention, might that have an impact?

      Barring that, wtf will?

      Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

      by Words In Action on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:41:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Corporate Democrats have very limited if any (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pete Dunkelberg, Klusterpuck

    problem with this. In fact, Obama is involved in a vast, secret conspiracy to make the situation much, much worse with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a "Trade Deal" that goes far beyond trade and puts corporations, even foreign corporations, on equal footing with sovereign nations in key legal proceedings enforcing monopolistic practices and providing for remedies creating unlimited taxpayer exposure.  Among other things, it allows corporations to sue and collect damages from the U.S. taxpayer if the corporation believes that U.S. government policy has negatively impacted its future earnings potential.

    And that is just one small indicator of the evil being perpetrated.

    I haven't even mentioned what it does to currently weak labor and environmental protections.

    Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

    by Words In Action on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:57:49 AM PDT

  •  Top 7%? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Klusterpuck

    This is probably another instance where most of the gains were reserved for the 1%, .1%, and .01%.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:39:51 AM PDT

  •  Whatever you are doing Obama... stop, you aren't.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfromga, Klusterpuck

    helping.

    It's the Jerry Lewis presidency, no matter what he tries to do, he only makes it worse, and comedy ensues.

    I know I'm laughing, how about you?

    •  There's Nothing For Him to Stop, the Repubs Have (0+ / 0-)

      him hamstrung already. Did you miss the last 5 years' news?

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:11:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If it's only (3+ / 0-)

    class war when we fight back, then why the fuck aren't we fighting back yet?

    •  Most people are still (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Klusterpuck, Words In Action

      sleeping or just waking up.

      Don't worry, when everyone is in literal shackles, they'll all be on board.

      All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true. - Kurt Vonnegut
      It's a very frightening time when something as basic as due process is seen as somehow radical. - John Cusack

      by dadoodaman on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 05:44:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hate the 1% nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dadoodaman
    •  I don't. (0+ / 0-)

      Some of them, sure.  Because of who they are, not because of how much they make.  There are some really terrible people in the 1%.  But there are also some really terrible people in the bottom 10%.  You can be a terrible person regardless of how much money you do, or do not, have.  

      But there are some very good people are in the 1%.  As an example, my dad's heart doctor is clearly well above the 1% (the 1% begins at household income roughly around $450,000 or so IIRC).  He's worked for years to get where he is, works long, long days (he's often in the office at 7 in the morning and making rounds in the hospital at 8 at night) and has saved my dad's life on more than one occasion.  I don't hate him.

      President Obama made over $600,000 last year.  He's the 1%.  Do you hate him?  

  •  Obama's financial policies of super low interest (3+ / 0-)

    rates as well as the bank bailouts are fueling the stock market, nothing more. would be nice if some love had been thrown to the middle class and the devastatated housing market as well

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:18:57 PM PDT

  •  More (4+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:21:48 PM PDT

  •  Shocking! Why was the decline a mere 4%? (3+ / 0-)

    If the Rich are to break that 30% growth barrier we're going to have to see much much better assaults on the lesser sort of people.

    Quick, somebody buy my Congressman!


    Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

    by Jim P on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:28:38 PM PDT

  •  Simple. (5+ / 0-)

    Use the following AMT rates:
    90% on income over $99.99M
    80% on income over $49.99M
    70% on income over $24.99M
    60% on income over $9.99M
    50% on income over $1.99MM
    40% on income over $.99M
    30% on income over $.59M
    25% on income over $.249M
    20% on income over $.99M

    If you don't like high tax rates, then put limitations on compensation, where it belongs in the first place.

    Same for estate taxes for estates over $4.99M over.
    20% for estates $1.99M to $4.99
    0% for estates under $2M.

    Treat ALL income the same, except for capital gains up to $500K on the primary residence. Includes hedge fund managers like Chelsea.

    Raise minimum to $11 now and add $1 per year for the next five years, then index to inflation.

    .5% transaction tax according to the Robin Hood tax rules -- i.e., on transactions least likely to affect small investors and businesses.

    Eliminate off-shore tax shelters. Make it a felony with a 10 year minimum jail sentence to break this law.

    There are probably 20 other loopholes that should be closed.

    Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

    by Words In Action on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:36:29 PM PDT

    •  Whenever I hear how the Buffet Rule won't (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dadoodaman, Klusterpuck, Barton Funk

      cut it--which almost sounds like an excuse for not doing it (kind of like why bother with gun control if it won't stop all gun crime?)--I think, well, yeah, that's because we're working with taking a piece of the income pie which the 1% has simply credited to itself from productivity and other gains for the past 30 years.

      If the 1% was still making income proportional to what it made 30 years ago and paying those tax rates--as with removing the cap on SS--pretty much sure we have problem solved.

      I don't have the source data to calculate that, but I would love to see what it shows.

      Ditto for the fix I outlined in the Parent to this comment. Pretty sure we'd solve or at least come close to solving the problem.

      If not, don't forget:

      Slashing the Defense Budget 10% per year for the next 5 years (on top of the sequester cuts).

      Setting a corporate per year average AMT over any three period as follows:

      0% up to $.99M
      1% up to $2.99M
      2% up to $9.99M
      3% up to $24.99M
      4% up to $49.99M
      5% up to $99.99M
      6% up to $499.99M
      7% up to $999.99M
      8% $1B and over

      Slash fossil fuel subsidies.

      Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

      by Words In Action on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:54:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dadoodaman, Barton Funk, DSPS owl

        slash homeland security and the "intelligence" community.

        I'm sure we can save several billion per year there.

        And ixnay the rugwarday.

        Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

        by Words In Action on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:58:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If you want actual facts (0+ / 0-)

        The CBO keeps data on effective federal income tax rates -- how much of your income you actually PAY in federal income taxes.  (Top marginal rates are pretty meaningless in and of themselves -- the rich paid more under Clinton's 39.9% top marginal rate than they did under Carter's 70% top marginal rate.  If you want to see a summary of the CBO data for historical effective federal income tax rates, look at the SECOND chart here. Other charts show effetive rates for other kinds of taxes, and the first chart combines all federal taxes.

        If you want to see how much revenue the federal government has taken in and has spent over the years as a percent of GDP, see here.  Based on existing law, i.e., the repeal of the Bush tax cuts at the top and the sequester staying in place, we're projected, over the next several years, to take in about 19% of GDP a year and spend about 22% of GDP a year.  You can see how that compares with historical average.

        If you want to see how progressive our federal income tax code is, i.e., how of the total income taxes each income sector pays as compared with their percentage of total income, the IRS publishes that data every year.  The IRS data is summarized  in charts that are pretty easy to read here.    If you'd prefer to go to the original source, you can go here or to the IRS website here.

        It's always better to discuss tax policy based on actual data.  

        •  I know I've looked and the breakdowns on income (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Barton Funk, Words In Action

          whether by bracket or quintile or whatever never match up across sources, which makes a full analysis of the type WiA has asked for extremely difficult.

          It's always better to discuss tax policy based on actual data.
          I believe he conceded the point.

          Nevertheless, I think his conclusions are probably spot on.

          “Washington has become our Versailles. We are ruled, entertained, and informed by courtiers -- and the media has evolved into a class of courtiers." - Chris Hedges

          by Klusterpuck on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 05:52:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks. That was my experience as well. (0+ / 0-)

            That's why I haven't been able to fully crunch the numbers. Apples, bowties and llamas.

            But I'm pretty sure someone more familiar with the sources could work it out.

            Frankly, I'd rather take down Exxon or Goldman Sachs, the way we're taking down RushBeckistan, than elect another "better" Democrat who's going to wind up singing for the bankster choir.

            by Words In Action on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 06:30:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Why did they start the data in 2009? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk

    If you were to measure from 2007, the peak of the real estate market, the rich (as well as the middle class) would show significant losses on real estate (and the rich not only own bigger homes, but are more likely to own second homes and commercial real estate investments; the poor are more likely to be renters, who actually benefit when real estate falls). 2009 is a strange date in that it was the low point for the rich (equities and real estate are up from 2009 levels), but not for the lower 90%.

  •  Barring explicit governmental work to prevent it (4+ / 0-)

    that's the general pattern for any boom/bust cycle.  When you've got the money to spend, you can always buy up assets on the cheap when things crash and all the little people have to sell things off simply to survive.  Then, as things recover, the little folks end up having to buy back what they had before for more than they sold it for.

    Every crash is an opportunity for vulture capital.

  •  Bad use of data (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk

    Like saying gas prices tripled under Obama by comparing Jan. 2009 to 2012.

    Everything else about untenable inequity in our society is true, but this data point is misleading. Should use something like wealth change over 10-year periods. Would probably still show severe asymmetries, but less than the 2009-2012 data.

    Our cause: a More Perfect Union.

    by Roby NJ on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 04:59:18 PM PDT

  •  Here's what I don't understand. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not cheering the gap, or it's growth, but I'm wondering why I keep reading about this stagnant economy when my landlord and wife had their best year of the last 30 in 2012, and this year's already on track to quadruple in one business, double in another and triple in the third.  These are SMALL businesses, the largest has 2 PT employees one day a month.  She's a travel agent who almost folded 2 years ago, he's a cement guy, she's his only help, and they together run a space at a monthly Market where they sell stuff they buy and find in Mexico.  Not big operations, but they're thriving.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 05:08:09 PM PDT

    •  Sample size. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Klusterpuck, Words In Action

      A statistically valid sample size would improve your understanding.

      All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true. - Kurt Vonnegut
      It's a very frightening time when something as basic as due process is seen as somehow radical. - John Cusack

      by dadoodaman on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 05:47:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well our whole town seems to be thriving (0+ / 0-)

        after some lean years.  It's all local businesses, maybe there are really rich people who are keeping us afloat but I doubt that.  The little Episcopal school is suddenly getting a flurry of new students, and this was the year they expected to close, given the last 3 years.  We don't have big development happening, there's just more money from ordinary people which doesn't fit the media story I hear every day.  I'm not challenging this diary I'm just intrigued to live in a place where people seem to be doing better than they should be.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 06:47:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Rich get richer (0+ / 0-)

    I'm shocked, shocked by this revelation.  Think it might have something to do with old saying, "He who pays the piper calls the tune"?

    Well, for all the blather from President Obama and the Republicans about the Democrats wanting to "tax the rich", did anyone but me notice that raising tax rates didn't make it onto the president's agenda until he didn't have majorities able to pass a serious tax increase?  And the little tax increase that did happen when the Bush tax cuts expired amounted to little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  The taxes on INCOMES went up a bit, but the truly wealthy don't get income, they get their real money from finagling their stock.

    The late Steve Jobs got a salary of $1 a year.  Warren Buffett is paid a salary of $100,000 a year.  President Obama paid a tax rate of 18%, while living a lifestyle a Russian Oligarch would envy.

    I know most people who read these pages weren't born in 1963, but the top marginal tax rate from the late 1940's to 1963 was on the order of 90% on incomes over $400,000 ($2,800,000 to $4,000,000 in today's dollars).  Funny thing, none of the people who made this kind of money stopped working or moved to Outer Slobbovia, they just found ways to get around the taxes, like the infamous "three Martini business lunch" write-off - and, guess what, the restauranteur, the waiter, the cooks, everybody involved got a little better off.

    Lots of things could be done, but an obvious one would be to impose a small wealth tax of 2% or 3% on net worth over some figure, say a couple million dollars.  Right now, most states tax property, which is based on a calculated value of the property, and the poor schmuck whose name is on the property pays it even if his net worth is in the negative.  Under my proposal, the people who would be filing a net worth tax return would be those with net assets of a $1,000,000.  Government investigates, finds out someone has assets worth over what is reported?  Mr. Moneybags forfeits everything over what he reported.  Compliance would quickly grow.

    Of course, it will never happen.  Any politician who voted for a wealth tax would be out of office in the next election, Democrat or Republican.  Who pays the piper calls the tune.  Ever notice Goldman Sachs employees are big donors to politicians of both parties, and their super-pacs?

  •  I Don't See Much Hope For Things To (0+ / 0-)

    change not when the senate cares more about the top 1 percent than they do for the poor who don't have lobbyist out there 24 hours a day lobbying congress.  Our congress, democrats and republicans do not have any kind of moral compass.  The poor are not even on their radar.  It is like congress lives in their own little universe.  I doubt if any congressional members have been in a poor person's house or neighborhood.  

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 07:01:48 PM PDT

  •  The upside (0+ / 0-)

    is all those wonderful jobs they created with that extra cash.

    Oh, wait...

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site