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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

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.

It’s one of the great ironies of the current debate in America that so many of the people who oppose the teaching of Darwinism as the definitive explanation of life on earth are only too happy to promote and practice a brutal, dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest brand of social Darwinism when it comes to organizing modern society.   

This morning, two news stories highlight the impact of America’s dramatic shift in this direction:

First, the New York Times reports that there has been a startling and very troubling decline in life expectancy for poorly educated American whites — especially white women. While researchers have identified no definitive cause, it’s almost impossible to imagine that the decline in jobs that were formerly available those unable to finish high school and the shredding of the social safety net that helped lift many into the middle class haven’t both played a role.

Meanwhile, at the top of the food chain, things are headed in the opposite direction. A new report from Forbes as relayed by Think Progress shows that the collective wealth of the 400 richest Americans totaled $1.7 trillion in 2011, a 13 percent jump from the year before, as the stock market reached its highest mark in a decade and real estate rebounded.

A lot of — maybe most — people have sort of a vague notion that the super wealthy are able squirrel away a lot of their wealth and income overseas so as to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. But, as this article reports, the size and scope of the practice has truly reached an astounding level.

“A new report by the Tax Justice Network released Sunday reveals that between $21 trillion and $31 trillion is currently tucked away in global tax havens by the global super-rich–an amount that far exceeds previous estimates. Through exploiting gaps in global tax rules, the global financial elite are managing to hide ‘as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together’ from taxation, leaving the world’s poor to carry the burden of global debt through harsh austerity measures.”