Since the introduction of the concept of the Buffett Tax, many Republicans have claimed that this is “class warfare” against the rich. Some of these include Sen. Lindsay Graham, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell among others.
Let’s just see what class has “waged war” against another class.
Think Progress has developed a list of five things everyone should know about the top 1%.
1. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Owns 40 Percent Of The Nation’s Wealth: As Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz points out, the richest 1 percent of Americans now own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. Sociologist William Domhoff illustrates this wealth disparity using 2007 figures where the top 1 percent owned 42 percent of the country’s financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home). How much does the bottom 80 percent own? Only 7 percent:
As Stiglitz notes, this disparity is much worse than it was in the past, as just 25 years ago the top 1 percent owned 33 percent of national wealth.
This doesn’t look like the poor staging a war against the rich. It looks like the poor getting beat down over and over again.
2. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Take Home 24 Percent Of National Income: While the richest 1 percent of Americans take home almost a quarter of national income today, in 1976 they took home just 9 percent — meaning their share of the national income pool has nearly tripled in roughly three decades.
As you can see, not only do we have a wealth inequality problem, but it keeps growing.
3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half Of The Country’s Stocks, Bonds, And Mutual Funds:
You can easily see that the top 10% owns 90.3% of what is taxed with capital gains rates. Below this group, people just don’t have the money to invest and in turn, the rich pay less taxes on their money. (Capital gains is taxed at only 15%)
4. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Have Only 5 Percent Of The Nation’s Personal Debt:
Using 2007 figures, sociologist William Domhoff points out that the top 1 percent have 5 percent of the nation’s personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent of total debt:
5. The Top 1 Percent Are Taking In More Of The Nation’s Income Than At Any Other Time Since The 1920s: Not only are the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans taking home a tremendous portion of the national income, but their share of this income is greater than at any other time since the Great Depression, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates in this chart using 2007 data:
So, as we can see, the rich really are better off than everyone else. And not by a little. Looking at this last graph, under what president did the share of income switch to favor the poor? Reagan. Yes, class warfare against the rich does not exist, but rather, it has existed against the poor for a long time. It’s time for the rich to pay their fair share of taxes and to take some responsibility for the shape of our economy. After all, it is the rich who control it.
Edit: For the conservatives who have been messaging me complaining that the rich aren’t rich enough, and that 46% don’t pay federal income taxes read what I have written before. See here.
Now, 46% don’t pay the federal income tax because they don’t even make enough money to live on. Furthermore, they do in fact, pay taxes. They pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, etc.. You try giving up all of your money and assets and take in under $17,000 a year and prove how easy you claim their lives are. The top 1% averages $1.5 million dollars a year, and yet you bitch that this isn’t enough and that the government is “stealing” your wealth. You’re just horrendously selfish and ignorant on how economics works.