WASHINGTON (Realist English). In the period from 1989 to 2019, that is, over the past 30 years, the richest 1% of US families increased their share of national wealth from 27% to 34%. This is reported by the Guardian with reference to a study by the Congressional Budget Office.
And the share of families with the lowest income accounts for only 2% of national wealth.
According to former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, ” record share of the nation’s wealth remains in the hands of the nation’s billionaires, who are also paying a lower tax rate than the average American.”
Reich reminded that “Six of the 10 wealthiest Americans alive today are heirs to fortunes passed on to them by wealthy ancestors.”
“Jeff Bezos’s garage-based start was funded by a quarter-million-dollar investment from his parents. Bill Gates’s mother used her business connections to help land a software deal with IBM that made Microsoft. Elon Musk came from a family that reportedly owned shares of an emerald mine in southern Africa.”
The American Secretary sees “there is no justification for today’s extraordinary concentration of wealth at the very top”:
“The last time America faced anything comparable was at the start of the 20th century. In 1910, former president Theodore Roosevelt warned that “a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power” could destroy American democracy.
Roosevelt’s answer was to tax wealth. The estate tax was enacted in 1916, and the capital gains tax in 1922.
Since that time, both have eroded. As the rich have accumulated greater wealth, they have also amassed more political power – and have used that political power to reduce their taxes.
Teddy Roosevelt understood something about the American economy and the ultra-rich that has now re-emerged, even more extreme and more dangerous. We must understand it, too – and act.”