The REAL Transfer of Wealth

Discussion in 'Politics' started by bigarrow, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. The top 400: Income way up taxes way way down.

    "In a single year, between 2006 and 2007, the income of those top 400 taxpayers rose by 31 percent -- from an average of $263.3 million to an average of $344.8 million per year. Meanwhile, Johnston writes, "Their effective income tax rate fell to 16.62 percent, down more than half a percentage point from 17.17 percent in 2006, the new data show."

    full article:
    By Joe Conason

    Before angry voters restore Republicans to power -- in the name of "tea party populism" -- perhaps they should consider just how well right-wing rule worked out for them during the past decade. Last fall a Census Bureau study found that real median household income had declined from $52,500 in 2000, the last year that Bill Clinton was president, to $50,303 in 2008, George W. Bush's final year -- a period during which Republicans dominated Congress as well. Millions of those median households lost their health insurance (and, since the onset of the Great Recession, many of those same families have lost jobs as well).

    So most of those middle-class Americans who flock to the tea party demonstrations were big losers during the Bush era. So who were the winners? According to David Cay Johnston, America's premier tax journalist, newly released IRS data shows that the country's very wealthiest citizens -- the top 400 -- marked enormous income gains while paying less and less in taxes. For purposes of comparison, Johnston notes that the bottom 90 percent of Americans saw their incomes rise by only 13 percent in 2009 dollars, compared with a 399 percent increase for the top 400.

    In a single year, between 2006 and 2007, the income of those top 400 taxpayers rose by 31 percent -- from an average of $263.3 million to an average of $344.8 million per year. Meanwhile, Johnston writes, "Their effective income tax rate fell to 16.62 percent, down more than half a percentage point from 17.17 percent in 2006, the new data show. That rate is lower than the typical effective income tax rate paid by Americans with incomes in the low six figures, which is what each taxpayer in the top group earned in the first three hours of 2007." He also notes that the IRS data probably understates the income of the top 400, because of deferral rules enjoyed by hedge fund managers (at least three of whom earned $3 billion or more in 2007).

    Johnston's data comes from the latest edition of an annual IRS study of the top 400 taxpayers, which was first made public during the Clinton presidency. When Bush became president, unsurprisingly, he curtailed public access to the top 400 report for eight years. The Obama administration has made the report available this year, but such embarrassing statistics will no doubt be buried again as soon as the Republicans return to power.

  2. Mav88


    Transfer means taken from group and given to another, you can't transfer money they never had in the first place.

    17% federal rate for the top 400 earners? - make it 47%, that equals an extra $60B in revenue approximately, now distribute that amongst 100 million others... equals about $600 per person.

    Maybe their effective rate is low because they are loaning that money to governments through munis, etc., why isn't that analysis performed?

    Big deal, another dumb liberal argument.
  3. Republicans never dominated congress and the lower wage is due to the housing disaster that the democrats caused.
  4. If the middle class income is decreasing then doesn't that mean they did have it in the first place?

    The republicans did dominate during the glory years of the war on terror.
  5. WTF?

    It's one thing to assume if someone loses their job they stand a good chance of losing their health insurance.

    But this Joe Conason idiot presents it as two separate things- as if the difference in income between $52,500 in 2000 to $50,303 in 2008 was the cause for people to "lose their health insurance", and under the evil hand of GWB of course in which they (only tea party folk) were all "big losers"

    Is their any liberal (i.e., "big losers") who can actually present ideas that aren't based in la la land?
  6. Work harder, take home less
    From 2000 to 2007, worker productivity rose significantly in the United States, but real income fell for middle-class families, a group of economists says.

    By David Goldman, staff writer

    NEW YORK ( -- For most of the past decade, the economy grew much stronger - but middle-class Americans had little to show for it.

    That's the conclusion of a trio of economists who on Thursday released a preview of their book The State of Working America in 2008/2009 due out next year.

    Despite two periods of recession in the past decade, U.S. worker productivity still rose 18% in the 2000s - about 2.5% per year, according to author Jared Bernstein, a widely followed economist from the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

    But inflation-adjusted income for the American middle-class family actually fell during the same period. The median real income for working-age middle-income families in the United States dropped $2,000 between 2000 and 2007, from about $58,500 to $56,500, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

    As a result, the 2000-2007 business cycle was the first ever in which the nation's middle-class families had less real income at the end than when they started.

    "It's a compelling example of a large disconnect," said Bernstein. "Americans aren't being rewarded for their productivity."

    That's a stark change from 1989 to 2000, when the median income for working-age middle class families rose 10% - about half of the productivity growth over the same period, according to EPI. Had the trend of the '90s continued, the median income of working-age households would have risen by $3,600 instead of falling in the 2000s.

    Not every economist agrees with that assessment.

    "The numbers are misleading, because you need to take into account everything that workers are earning, including substantially more in health care and retirement plans," said James Sherk, the Bradley Fellow in Labor Policy at the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation.
    Weak job market

    Bernstein said the middle class has not taken out an equal share of what it put into the economy because of weak job creation during the decade and a widening gap between rich and poor.

    "This is a story of missed opportunity," Bernstein said.

    The nation suffered through a weak job market in the 2000s. Jobs grew only 0.6% during the period, which wasn't enough to keep up with the growing population, the EPI said. As a result, there were 1.5 million more unemployed workers at the end of the business cycle than at the beginning.

    "The official unemployment rate understated how difficult it was to find a job in the 2000s," said EPI economist Heidi Schierholtz. "The U.S. jobs creation machine came to a screeching halt after the 2001 recession and barely picked up steam in the recovery."

    Schierholtz cowrote The State of Working America with Bernstein and another EPI economist, Lawrence Mishel. The book was originally published in 1988; the new edition includes updated chapters on jobs, wages and income.

    According to the book, the economy took four years to return to the previous peak jobs level after the 2001 recession - an unprecedented amount of time. The recovery took more than twice as long as the 21-month average of all other recoveries after 1945.

    Jobs weren't helped by a second round of very weak economic growth toward the end of the cycle.

    "The economy of the 2000s has been like shampoo instructions: Bubble, bust, repeat," Bernstein said. "We need to generate growth that's sustainable, not on bubbles."

    By the end of the business cycle, nearly one in five unemployed workers had been out of a job for at least half a year.

    Furthermore, one in 11 workers were underemployed in the 2000s, as they were looking for full-time work but involuntarily took part time jobs. Workers' hours were cut by 2.2% in the 2000s, which negated the median family's 1% rise in hourly wages.

    Sherk said, however, that unemployment levels are comparable to other decades other than the 1990s, when the tech bubble added a disproportionate number of jobs to the economy.

    "Unemployment is high compared to the late '90s, but not the '80s," Sherk said. "It's not unusually high, especially when you consider that the labor force hasn't grown as rapidly this decade as it did in the 90s."
    Increased inequality

    Another finding from the book: Many middle class Americans who had jobs probably found that their bosses were getting big raises, while their paychecks were staying about the same.

    That's because 90% of the growth in U.S. workers' income from 1989 to 2007 went to the top 10% highest earners, EPI said. Income for the top 1% grew 204% since 1989, and the top 0.1% saw their income grow 425% in that span.

    But Sherk said the top earners are rarely the same today as they were five years ago. "This is coming from people who weren't in the top 1% before," he said.

    "Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, the Google founders. It looks like they're getting more than their share, but it's actually something else: They're all setting new high standards," Sherk said.

    Still, the gap continues to grow. In 2006, the top 1% held the highest share of total U.S. income since 1928, according to EPI.

    "There was a vast disconnect in what people earned with what they produced," said EPI's Mishel

  7. You mean "big losers" like Bill Gates, George Soros, Warren Buffet? Those kind of "big loser", is that who you're talking about?
    A political position doesn't define someone, it is what they do in life that determines their winner or loser status.
    Buttscoe you never disappoint me.
  8. How about this biggayload, you present to us all in your liberal genius, light-skinned intellect, what the author was taking about regarding people losing health insurance because their income dropped 2g's.

    Try to stay based in reality with your response.
  9. Thank you, I think.
    What color is your skin and the question we all have been asking, do you have intellect?
  10. Brilliant. You can't answer the question.

    Liberal genius on display!
    #10     Feb 18, 2010