We all have by now at least a basic idea that wealth inequality is a huge problem in this country – you know, the 1% has everything and the Occupy the Wall St. and all that. A new study by UC Berkeley economists uncovered just how fucked up it really is, tho.
The top 400
There’s levels to this rich people shit. The top 400 richest families in the US have more money than the bottom 60% of households combined. We can zoom out a little but the picture is still fucked up – the top 0.1% have as much wealth as the bottom 80% of households combined.
Common sense tells us that these ultra-wealthy folks should get taxed at a much higher rate than us regular people but we all know common sense doesn’t really work like that in real life. You’d at least think that they’d pay at a higher rate than the bottom 50%, right? Nah…
“It’s like the rich get richer, the poor don’t get a fucking thing” – 50 Cent
50 Cent ain’t lying. In 1960, the top 400 richest were getting taxed at as high as 56% rate. In 1980, they were paying 47% – could’ve been higher but we could live with that.
2018 tho? that’s when we got into the twilight zone. The top 400 richest fams paid the average effective rate of 23%. In contrast, the bottom half of US households got taxed at 24.2%.
The Trump & Paul Ryan tax cut
The UC Berkeley economists say what really tipped the scale was the 2017 GOP tax cut which lowered the top income tax bracket and reduced the corp tax rate. As a result, the avg effective tax rate for the top 0.1% dropped by 2.5% points. Meanwhile, the whole trickle-down economy BS that was promised turned out to be, well, BS.
Hyper-inequality is unsustainable
Top Dem 2020 candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both have come up with aggressive wealth tax plans. Plus, Thomas Piketty, the economist well known for his book “Capital in the 21st Century”, argues that Billionaires should get taxed out of existence as they actually hurt economic growth.
Mark Zuckerberg, who has about $70 billy, recently said he doesn’t think anyone deserves to have billions of money. This is mostly him trying to cozy things up with Dem candidates but what’s evident is, even the billionaires know deep down that this type of hyper-capitalist style wealth gap is unsustainable.
“There’s room at the top they’re telling you still.
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill.
If you want to be like the folks on the hill.”
– John Lennon