Professor William Domhoff has updated his excellent study of wealth distribution in America and the results are just as sickening than they were in 2005!
We looked at the uneven distribution of incomes when I wrote “The Crisis of Middle-Class America” earlier this month and I’ll re-post the main chart here as it’s important for the readers to get a fix on where they really are on the economic food chain. When I talk about the need for more taxes, I’m generally (like our President) referring to the top 1%, the 1.4M people in this country who earn more than $393,000 a year – where 10% more tax ($40,000) may force them to skip a vacation vs. the alternative of taxing the bottom 90%, who earn $30,000 a year, which would force them to skip heat, food, clothing, etc.
The chart above EXCLUDES capital gains, which are over 70% of the top 0.01%’s incomes so it grossly understates the situation but it does give you a clearer idea of what was going on in the lower brackets leading up to the crisis. Go ahead, do the math – adding up the total wages of the bottom 90% against the total wages of the top 10% give you a real idea of what a “fair and just” system we’re participating in:
14,836 people earn $17,271,381 in average annual income ($256Bn), 133,525 earn $2,569,388 ($343Bn), 593,444 earn $760,680 ($451Bn), 741,805 earn $393,583($292Bn), 5,934,440 earn $188,513($1,119Bn) and 7,418,050 earn $117,688($873Bn) while the the wages of the bottom 90% are 133,524,900 people earning and average of just $30,173 ($4,029Bn).
So interesting fact number one is that the 13M people in the top 10% earn (not including capital gains, which make up the bulk of their true income) salaries of $3.3Tn while the other 133M schlubs earn $4Tn.
We are NOT going to be able to “fix” this country until we recognize that this is fundamentally unfair. Even for those of us in the top 10%, we need to recognize that those other 133M people are our customers, in the very least. If they have more money to spend, then we will, in theory, be able to make more money serving them. What’s really gone wrong in this equation is that the top 0.01%, including our multi-national corportate citizens, who control 34.6% of our nation’s wealth (very good chart series here) have already effectively pulled up anchor and are sailing away to warmer waters.
In Robert Frank’s excellent book “Richistan,” he points out that “The wealthy weren’t just getting wealthier — they were forming their…
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