by Paul Buchheit Published on Monday, April 16, 2012
The wealthiest Americans believe they've earned their money through hard work and innovation, and that they're the most productive members of society. For the most part they're wrong. As the facts below will show, they're not nearly as productive as middle-class workers. Yet they've taken almost all the new income over the past 30 years
Any one of these five reasons should reinforce the belief that the rich should be paying a LOT more in taxes.
1. They've Taken All the Middle Class Wage Increases
In 1980 the richest 1% of America took one of every fifteen post-tax income dollars. Now, according to IRS figures, they take THREE of every fifteen (doc) post-tax income dollars. They've tripled their cut of America's income pie. That's a trillion extra dollars a year.
For every dollar the richest 1% earned in 1980, they've added three more dollars. The poorest 90% have added ONE CENT.
Yet the average American factory worker, according to Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti, produces $180,000 worth of goods a year, more than three times what he or she produced in 1978, in inflation-adjusted dollars.
So workers have TRIPLED their productivity over 30 years while the richest 1% have TRIPLED their share of income. Worker pay remained flat as the top 10% took almost all the productivity gains since 1980.
2. They've Mismanaged Key American Industries .....
3. They've Benefited from 50 Years of Public Research
The very rich have made their fortunes in good part because of taxpayer-funded research at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (the Internet), the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, and numerous other government agencies. .....
4. They've Increased Their Incomes By Not Paying Taxes .....
5. They've Contributed Little to Society
The richest individuals and corporations have shown little regard for the majority of Americans who depend on sound financial management for their economic security. According to sources such as the New York Times and ProPublica, Wall Street firms including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs have been repeatedly charged with fraud only to avoid punishment by paying a fraction of their profits in fines.
Financial insiders have figured out how to cheat other investors by timing the purchase of a stock option to precede good corporate news, timing the sale of a stock option to precede bad corporate news, and changing the purchase date (pdf) on a stock option to a time when the price was lower.
tags: income distribution, income inequality