Saturday, October 13, 2007

Neocons finally tell the truth


For months, perhaps even longer, the far right has been heralding the current economic "boom," and for once they're telling the truth. Unfortunately, you and I will never see the results. Only the caviar caste of society will pocket the benefits of our labor. Try to bypass these assholes as much as you can. Don't buy new products whenever possible. Shop at secondhand stores, trade goods and services with friends, family members and acquaintances, and, for the more radical, resist paying income taxes. Capitalism has been called the "socialism of the rich," it's time to stop paying for the biggest welfare parasites in the country and learn to sustain ourselves.

US Income Gap Widens, Richest Share Hits Record
by Karey Wutkowski

Washington - The gap between America’s richest and poorest is at its widest in at least 25 years, with the wealthiest taking home a record share of the nation’s income that exceeds even the previous high in 2000.

According to recent data from the Internal Revenue Service, the richest 1 percent of Americans earned 21.2 percent of all U.S. income earned in 2005. That is a significant increase from 2004 when the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of the nation’s income.

The previous high over the past 25 years, when such data were compiled, was in 2000 when a bull market brought the figure up to 20.81 percent.

The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, said the wealthy benefited in 2005 from a healthy, growing economy and higher-than-average price inflation.

The IRS data included all of the 132.6 million tax returns filed in 2005 with a positive adjusted gross income, or AGI, also including people who did not earn enough to owe taxes.

AGI is a figure used to calculate an individual’s income tax liability and includes all gross income adjusted by certain allowed deductions, such as moving expenses, health savings account deductions, alimony paid and retirement contributions.

In 2005, 90.6 million people who filed tax returns paid taxes into the Treasury, and 42 million with a positive AGI used exemptions, deductions and tax credits to reduce their federal income tax liability to zero.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidates have raised the widening income gap as a campaign issue, proposing to raise taxes on wealthier Americans to pay for programs that would benefit lower-income families.

To make the top 1 percent of wealthiest Americans in 2005, a taxpayer had to earn at least $364,657. That figure is an increase from 2004, when the cut-off point stood at $328,049.

In 2005, the top 50 percent of American earners brought in 87.17 percent of the nation’s income, also an all-time high for the data available.

The previous high for that figure was also in 2000, when the richest 50 percent of Americans earned 87.01 percent of the income.

© 2007 Reuters

Income inequality worst since 1920s, according to IRS data
Nick Juliano

Half of US senators are millionaires

The superrich are gobbling up an ever larger piece of the economic pie, and the poor are seeing their share of earnings shrink: new IRS data shows the top 1 percent of Americans are claiming a larger share of national income than at any time since before the Great Depression.

The top percentile of wealthy Americans earned 21.2 percent of all income in 2005, up from 19 percent in 2004, according to new Internal Revenue Service data published in the Wall Street Journal Friday.

Americans in the bottom 50 percent of wage earners saw their share of income shrink to 12.8 percent in 2005, down from 13.4 percent.

"Scholars attribute rising inequality to several factors," the Journal reports, "including technological change that favors those with more skills, and globalization and advances in communications that enlarge the rewards available to 'superstar' performers whether in business, sports or entertainment."

The data could cause problems to President Bush and Republican presidential candidates, who have played up low unemployment and a strong economy since 2003, crediting Bush's tax cuts for contributing to both. In an interview with the Journal, Bush downplayed the significance of the income gap, saying more education is the answer to narrowing it.

"First of all, our society has had income inequality for a long time. Secondly, skills gaps yield income gaps," Bush told the Journal. "And what needs to be done about the inequality of income is to make sure people have got good education, starting with young kids. That's why No Child Left Behind is such an important component of making sure that America is competitive in the 21st century."

The Journal notes that many Americans fear the economy is entering a recession, and the IRS data show income for the median earner fell 2 percent between 2000 and 2005 to $30,881. Earnings for the top 1 percent grew to $364,657 -- a 3 percent uptick.

Scholarly research suggests that top earners did not have such a large share of total income since the 1920s, the Journal reported.

The Journal reports that a recent stock boom likely contributed to higher earnings among those in the top income bracket, with hedge fund managers and Wall Street attorneys seeing their incomes skyrocket in recent years.

Another prominent pool or wealthy Americans gathers regularly on Capitol Hill to write the nation's laws. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign spending and politicians' wealth, says more than a third of Congress members are millionaires, with at least half the Senate falling into the millionaires club.

Forbes reported that last year's incoming class of new Senators did "little to shake the Senate's image as a millionaires club," with half of the newly elected members having seven- eight- or nine-figure personal fortunes.

Freshman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) is worth between $64 million and $236 million, and newly elected Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D-MO) fortune is between $13 million and $29 million. R

Roll Call estimates Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is the chamber's richest member with an estimated net worth of $750 million; another Democrat, Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl, is among the chamber's richest with between $220 million and $234 million in personal assets.


Median Net Worth by Race 2004


Sandy said...

Brilliant! You should become a politician Rich, we need minds like yours.

Rich_Of_Spirit said...


Aw, shucks. You flatter me. I'm just trying to bring new ideas to people who might be able to use them. But thanks for the praise.

groundhogger said...

Hi, Rich, I was looking through my blog this morning and found your comment. When I got into reading yours I find our politics are pretty similar. I expect to read all your archive material in time but not today. I think we would have an intersting conversation if we got together, except I prefer a shot of Tequila with a Miller HIgh LIfe instead of a "dirty martini"
Peace, and good fortune to you,