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David Koch

Conservative plutocrat, David Koch

It’s no secret that America’s economic inequality continues to metastasize at a remarkable pace. Still, when one actually takes a moment to look at and consider the vast holdings of the nation’s richest families (and the avarice often represented therein) it can take your breath away. For some cases in point, check out the following article entitled “A Third of a Trillion for Three Families,” by tax lawyer Bob Lord for the website Inequality.org.

“How concentrated has America’s wealth become? In the not-so-distant future, if current trends continue, a mere handful of Americans will together hold over $1 trillion in wealth. Read More

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The folks at Pew Research released new poll results today confirming that Americans are increasingly sick and tired of the nation’s growing economic inequality and want government to do something about it. Even sizable percentages of Republicans favor strong action.

“There is broad public agreement that economic inequality has grown over the past decade. But as President Obama prepares for Tuesday’s State of the Union, where he is expected to unveil proposals for dealing with inequality and poverty, there are wide partisan differences over how much the government should – and can – do to address these issues.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, finds that 65% believe the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased in the last 10 years. This view is shared by majorities across nearly all groups in the public, including 68% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans.”

And while there is a significant partisan divide, overall majorities were large for some common sense solutions and assessments of the source of the problem: Read More

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The huge and growing gaps in wealth and income inequality are much in the news these days — from Washington to the Vatican and here’s why: the plain facts are simply stunning and overwhelming. To see this in black and white (or, to be more accurate, red, orange and blue) click here and here to check out two new animated graphs from Chad Stone of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (a third one will be released shortly).

As Stone notes by way on introduction with the understated language of a crack economist:

“The economic fortunes of the wealthy and everyone else have diverged sharply in recent decades.  It wasn’t always this way; from the end of World War II into the 1970s, income growth was shared equally among all segments of the population.  But, as we’ll illustrate in three animated graphs, most of the income growth in recent decades has occurred at the very top.”

As the graphs show here and here, that’s putting it gently.

 

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We’ve all heard the right-wing talking point so many times that we can repeat it by heart: “High state taxes are scaring off successful people (i.e rich people) and forcing them to move to lower tax states.”

The only problem with this mantra: it ain’t so.

According to a new report sponsored by the Swiss financial conglomerate UBS entitled “The World Ultra Wealth Report 2013,” Amercian higher tax states continue to attract boatloads of fat cats — what the report politely refers to as “ultra high net worth ” individuals — worth $30 million or more. Indeed, California, home to the highest taxes on rich folks in the country, saw its plutocrat population shoot up by 14.7% just last year. New York, also home to higher taxes was second overall and reported 4.1% growth. Supposedly liberal Massachusetts has the fastest-growing tycoon population of all. 

Meanwhile, here in the Old North State, where conservative think tankers continually lament the supposed deleterious impact of the state’s “high marginal income tax rates,” the über-rich population expanded by more than 20% last year – seventh fastest in the nation. More than 1,100 magnates now live in North Carolina.

Here’s a chart from the report taken from a story in The Huffington Post: Read More

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Political contributionsAs this amazing graph from a new report in the Journal of Economic Perspectives shows, there is a pretty straightforward reason that big money has become so unassailable in modern American politics.

Sam Pizzigatti has more at Too Much online and Maureen Dowd touches on the same sobering theme in her weekend broadside at the Clinton wealth machine.