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March 01, 2011 7:20 pm MST

Who has all the money?

  • by: MADCO

real deal…

I’ll add to this, but this picture (s) tells a big story.

I believe in equal opportunity.  I accept unequal outcomes.

What I don’t accept is the argument that it’s immoral or wrong to tax income.  I believe in a progressive income tax.  I don’t think the top rate should be 90% +, but I have no aversion to the bottom of the pile paying no income tax.  

We pay sales tax, and social security and medicare and other payroll taxes. We pay registration fees and gas taxes and energy taxes.

I think the census data will allow a similar picture to be done for Colorado.  Or perhaps there is another source.

real deal

To be continued


25 thoughts on “Who has all the money?

  1. The wealth of that top 20% is far more concentrated than that with most getting a  very modest piece. How about the top 1%?  And even in the top 1% a huge amount of the wealth is concentrated in the top fraction of that 1%. When Rs complain about the top income earners paying a disproportionate percent of collected income taxes they always leave out that it is hardly disproportionate to the amount of weakth they hold:

    The Wealth Distribution

    In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%. Table 1 and Figure 1 present further details drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2010).

    Since this is data from 2007 the concentration of wealth in the top 1% and really the top fraction of 1% is no doubt even more pronounced than it was then.  Can you say Banana Republic?  Let them eat cake?

    1. This tends to be the most true in areas with very high poverty, and concentrated urban populations.  I’d suspect you’d see the worst numbers in the South, and in heavy manufacturing cities like Pittsburgh.  I’d love to see actual numbers, though.

      In any case, of course it’s wrong.  It’s also self-perpetuating.  The more this happens, the more those with wealth are able to use it to further rig the system to earn them more wealth.

  2. I was in the top 2% of incomes.  There was nothing I wanted or needed that I didn’t buy.  I never saved to buy a special item, I payed for it out of cash.  My tastes were not particularly extravagant, but I bought a new $700 suit every 3 months and would go to Paris for a long weekend.  I didn’t have a luxury car, but I had a SUV, a vintage convertible and 3 motorcycles.  My house was small, but in one of the best neighborhoods in town.  My 401K was maxed and I still saved about $20K a year on top of that.

    Sounds pretty good?  But I moved in circles with people whose level of wealth was jaw dropping.  I once went out with some 0.5% who spent about $1000 apiece on dinner and drinks:  I never did that again.  I once hopped on a private jet with some 0.5% because they needed a 4th for poker.  I once listened as a 0.5% complained about the property taxes on their 3rd home killing them.

    The level of wealth at the very top is so outside of the realm of most Americans, even those making $250k a year it is hard for us plebes to recognize how alien they really are.  There are exceptions, the Warren Buffets of the world, but it usually dies in a single generation–Sam Walton was a regular Joe, his kids not so much.  

    The American people are willing participants in their own destruction if they do not recognize the manifest unfairness in the current system.

    1. to the people who are at the pinnacle of the wealth concentraion: the top tenth of the top 1%. Something to keep in mind in all these larger breakdowns, whether it’s top 20%, top 2% or top 1%; a tiny percent at the top of those categores is where the lion’s share of the money is.

      Here’s a joke I just found in my mail box:

      A unionized public employee, a tea partyer, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the tea partyer and says, “Watch out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie.”

  3. Oh, MADCO(w).  Now why would you want to try and start a class war?  You sound just like Obama and the Dems who are always bashing us Rich Guys.  

    And, don’t you know it’s not right to raise taxes, on anyone, during a recession?  By keeping my Bush tax cuts I was able to spend more.  I mean, I think I did.  Does spending outside the US count? (To tell the truth, I didn’t really notice what my tax savings were.  After all, it was only about 3% of my income over $250,000.)

    And, where is the chart that shows how few Rich Guys, say the top 10%, pay a huge portion of the taxes, probably around 50%.  That’s not fair!  

    Finally, you say you’re fine with “the bottom of the pile paying no income tax.”  Well, I say that if they don’t pay income taxes then they’ll not feel invested in this country.  Kind of like how renters don’t have the same stake as people who own their home (or homes, like me).  No one has ever washed a rental car.  So, Rich Guy’s proposal is to increase the income taxes on the bottom 20%.  Maybe then they will join me in calling for less government!  Yeah, that’s the ticket.    

    1. It would also show the top 10% with about 70% of the wealth. Not the picture the poor Rich Guys want to paint.  Of course most members of the top 10%  have very little of that 70%. The top 1% have over a third just by themselves, the biggest chunk going to a fraction of them, with exponentially declining portions down to the low end of that top 10% block. Welcome to the New Gilded Age.  

  4. .

    What would it take to erase the total accumulated federal debt ?  

    I peg total debt at about $15 Trillion.  Can I get a witness ?

    Total wealth is about 100 times that,

    (and varies by the hour, with the DJIA,)

    including peoples’ equity in their homes.  Who’s got the actual number ?

    Somebody help me with the math.  What tax rate would that require ?  

    Do it once a decade, and call it a census tax.  

    But first, let’s change the Constitution to make that permissible.


    1. Oh yeah, the Bible.  They called it Jubilee – basically redistribution of wealth.  The Republican Christian Bible is missing this section, apparently.  

    2. We can tax the wealth as it transfers from generation to generation.

      Exempt 97% of Americans.

      Tax the remaining 3% on everything over $10million that transfers. 45%.

      1. it’s progressive, it’s a tax on something pretty much everyone agrees is undesirable, and it’s completely avoidable — you don’t have to pay it unless or until you choose to pass away (see also:  Cheney, dick, etc.,).

        1. If you impose a death tax, then the Richie Riches will find a way to eliminate death.  Then they’ll be hanging around forever, dragging the rest of us down.

            1. it was only gone for 1 year.  I could have accepted the last year before it was completely gone, but the compromise level was worse for us (better for multim(b)illionaires)than the level that applied in 2009.

              Not even I was suggesting we go back to 2000 levels, but I thought the worst we would get war 2009 levels and Obama just made it worse than 2009–nice going socialist.

              Year Exclusion

              Amount Max/Top        tax rate

              2001 $675,000 55%

              2002 $1 million 50%

              2003 $1 million 49%

              2004 $1.5 million 48%

              2005 $1.5 million 47%

              2006 $2 million 46%

              2007 $2 million 45%

              2008 $2 million 45%

              2009 $3.5 million 45%

              2010 * Repealed * 35%

              2011 $5 million 35%

              Now granted as originally proposed in the compromise this would have been permanent, but it is now part of the 2 year temporary deal.  Still I am offended that we must bow to our hereditary aristocracy.

  5. There’s almost no difference in each social bracket, everyone would have the exact same amount of money. By then I really wouldn’t separate the group as top 20 to bottom 20

    1. who is most favored by G-d if the poor actually had some wealth in this country? Foolish graph makers!

      (By the way, A-bob, in the graph you’re talking about, the richest have three times the wealth of the poorest — hardly “exact same amount of money.”)

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