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America's Richest 2% Made More Money in 2017 than the Cost of the Entire Safety Net


America's Richest 2% Made More Money in 2017 than the Cost of the Entire Safety Net

Paul Buchheit

How was their money made? Almost entirely by passively waiting for the stock market to go up. The data sources for this report are Forbes and Credit Suisse, both of which provide precise numbers for the worsening surge in America's wealth inequality.


Pretty much every Republican initiative is directly aimed at locking in the class structure as it currently exists. Musical chairs in which the music never plays again is the goal. Nevertheless, they will espouse Horatio Algier to the nth degree as the narrative. The cynical Koch brothers suffer no shortage of acolytes. There is no shortage of people who can be easily manipulated into voting against their best interests. Enlightenment is the only way to achieve Jefferson’s ideal of a well educated citizenry, but alas, there is surely a big game or movie just on the horizon that is bright and shiny. Bread and circuses kept the Roman empire in check. Do we live in different times. No, we just have Starbucks and iPhones. Santayana’s admonition stills holds true and probably always will. The one percent celebrate division and diversion daily as it is upon these that they have built their empires. Enlightenment is the only means by which to pull the timbers from such much like the game of Jenga. Good luck to us all.


Bingo. Starbucks and IPhones. And the young have NO idea, even the ones with “education.” When the GOP set about to dumb down America, they succeeded.


From the article:

“…low-income programs that make up the social support package derisively referred to as ‘welfare.’”

It’s interesting to contemplate how the term “welfare,” which the preamble to the US Constitution names as one of the reasons for its being, might have come to be the subject of derision.


What the republikers are really saying is “go hungry till some rich guy invests in a business near you where you can work for competitive wages at a few cents above minimum wage with no occupational safety, no benefits, no sick leave, and no vacation time.”

I really wonder how the republikers think that famished, unhealthy people can even get hired much less be ready to do a hard day’s work.


They don’t care, knowing if the people are repressed enough, there will always be another body to do the labor.
We are disposable.


And the conservative message is: Forget about banks and loan sharks that rip you off, or corporations that refuse to pay you what you’re worth; forget about the majority of your taxes going to fund war and fake war contracts–the reason you aren’t doing as well as you’d like is: POOR PEOPLE GET FREE BEANS.


As a liberal Liberal and big believer in the truth, I’m calling bs on this article. In order to be in the top 2% you had to have made … how much? I could not find the number, but the top 1% makes anything over $400K, which puts the 2% at perhaps $250K. This is money earned by any dentist or good lawyer, many salesmen and even some union workers. So much for the large donation I wanted to give here, this is silly propaganda.


You are joking, right?


That’s a pretty funny username, because your post shows nothing but naivete. The GOP you whine about is doing exactly what you espouse we do: voting their interests. Jefferson who you invoke was a very rich man by most measures, and in 1808 as President he forced through the law that made BREEDING slaves in America a profitable business, because it illegalized importing them at low cost. When his Nobleman friend Kosciusko died in Europe he left Jefferson the cash to buy & free his slaves (Jefferson promised him he would) but Jefferson refused, because they were now too valuable as breeding stock! Good luck to you, to grow up and learn that we are in a situation as a balance, other balances having been tried and failed. Our system may suck, but it sucks less than all the others at any time in world history. Do your reading, figure it out for yourself as you must.


I might not be too clear about your post, but there are frequent typos on this site. The headline refers to the top 2%, but the content of the article refers to the top 2 individual people.


The demonization of the LEGITIMATE, - not to mention prophetic - critique by Marx, which is playing out with an accuracy correlate to the inverse of the lies and corruption that are destroying lives.
If you do not see the bludgeon being swung at you, it could very well crack your noggin - much worse than blowing your mind. Don’t let the reference to OXFAM put you off…


The prof really loves his nubmers, comes up with a new article every month.

here’s another set of numbers:

In 2016 the top 1% fully paid for unemployment compensation, federal civilian and military retirement, some veterans’ benefits, the earned income tax credit, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and other mandatory programs, minus income from offsetting receipts, $542 billion.

The bottom 50% paid the budget for the Dept of transportation $37billion


Yep. The top 1% pays close to half of the income taxes. Bottom 40% pays nothing.


Actually, the headline is correct and the article talks about the earnings of the top 2% (for incomes this means over $323,000; for net worth this means about $6 million).


To get a more honest picture here, let us compare not actual dollars, but PERCENTAGES of the wealth each group controls. Your figures seem to imply " Hooray for the good deeds of the very wealthy, but piss on the not so wealthy for their meager contribution to the tax base." Before you throw your back out of joint worshiping the “good deeds” of the wealthy, keep in mind that much of their wealth was EXTRACTED from people of lesser means. In other words, much of our economically lopsided world is as it is because the rich have bought six-packs, or even full cases, of legislators to write state and national laws that artificially suppress the wealth of the many in order to artificially boost the wealth of a select few.

Take a look at how, try as they might, the rich can’t seem to get INTO prison, while the poor can’t seem to get OUT. Could that have something to do with which class owns stock in private prison corporations? The system is rigged! If Bernie Madoff had stolen all than money from common people, it would have been just another day in American business. Because Bernie fleeced some rich people, the rich peoples’ newspapers and the rich peoples’ courts branded him a criminal and locked him away, not for stealing, but for WHO he stole FROM.


The people begging on the side or middle of the roads with signs have been pushed out of sight, some still venture out. With all this traffic in a big hurry it’s a brave thing to do. Are tptb going to FedEx the boxes of canned food to your doorstep or woods entrance or do people have to walk and carry it back themselves?


Good for the top 2%. Looks like they could afford to fund the entire safety net. How about it, Congress?


“…but it sucks less than all the others at any time in world history.” That’s the first cousin to the old…‘it’s not perfect but it’s the best there is’. Of course, that’s bs. The ‘best there is’ has lowered its standards. Health costs, transportation, education, employment opportunities, safety net, etc, etc, when judged not by its potential but adjusted for inequality, then the Human Development index for 2014 puts the US at 27th place worldwide, tied with Poland. Why does the US have such a costly healthcare system, where we pay double for healthcare than other western industrialized countries? We know the reason is the failure to use economy of scale and playing the expensive and unregulated ‘Free Market’ game. But why? There is such a basic reality as the common good. Yet American elections, being both expensive and seemingly lasting forever, what takes weeks in other societies takes months or years in the US, are heavily financed by wealthy sources. Corporations, individuals, organizations, these sources demand a return for there ‘investment’. Legislators that don’t comply, or comply enough, soon see that election money going to competitors. And to top that those wealthy sources hire lobbyists to lobby the parliamentarians that they already bought and paid for, guaranteeing for themselves the best government money can buy. That’s not voting one’s interests, that’s buying one’s interest. Multiply that through all domains in US society and you see a society that is infected with a cancerous corruption. No society or organization thrives with that. Just the opposite. There’s real fundamental logic behind the term ‘common good’.

Check this little graphic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_of_living_in_the_United_States#/media/File:Gdp_versus_household_income.png
It gives a picture of what a serious cancer in the body politic looks like. Not a production report that a country’s leader could be proud of. Unless they’re bought and paid for. Did you miss that in your ‘balanced’ reading of history?


“wealth” isn’t a zero sum game, someone being rich does not mean they extracted their money from someone else. That would only be the case if the supply of money were fixed