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'Ten Year Challenge' for 400 Wealthiest Americans Shows Fortunes Doubled Since 2009 While Tax Rates Dropped

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/26/ten-year-challenge-400-wealthiest-americans-shows-fortunes-doubled-2009-while-tax

I just read a story about the inventor of cement overshoes. It seems that he had a disagreement with his financier friend, so he stuck the financier’s feet in a bucket of cement and then tossed him overboard alive.

The United States is a sovereign nation with the ability to do what it wants and an army to back up its wants. However the country is $23 trillion in debt and might not want to pay that money back to investors foreign or domestic.

I predict that the economy won’t go the way it has over the last ten years because we are likely to have 50% unemployment. If we don’t have 50% unemployment it will be because a majority of Congress thinks like Bernie Sanders and sets up a New Deal. Otherwise most of these billionaires and their money will flee the country and our center-rightist government will starve us, will cut Social Security checks by 80%, will slash all sorts of domestic programs to the bone and much farther if possible. Remember, this happened in Greece. This happened in Argentina. Boomers will remember that it happened in Brazil. Historians will remember that it happened in Germany’s Weimar Republic before the Nazi cult moved in. Yeah, sure it isn’t going to happen here.

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The UK’s Richard G. Wilkinson has been writing about the consequences of inequality for years; why isn’t your staff writer familiar with his writings?!

Why worry? We’ll be going extinct soon!!

We will have low wage employement, no benefits, part-time with eratic schedule, just the way Bozo and friends want it.

Wealth, or total household net worth, has grown from $48 trillion to $113 between January 2009 and October 2019, says the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds report, page 2. (You have to access the 2010 report to find the $48 trillion figure). That’s $65 billion in added net worth. The average wealth per adult is over $400,000. Half of U.S. adults own 1.2% of all wealth, about $10,000 average, says the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, 2019, Databook, page 162, I think. If the one percent own 40%, and they probably do, then each 1% adult, each of the 2.43 million adults in the 1%, is worth $18,600,000, and probably married so the household is worth $37,200,000. They would comprise 1.22 million households, more or less, and that’s 1% of households. Look at the Databook 2018 also for the deciles figures. But anyway, wealth is screwed up. I think if you adjust for inflation wealth increased by 95% in ten years. The incomes of the lower 50% between 1980 and 2014 increased from $16,000 to $16,200 from the report by Saez, Piketty and Zucman at Washington Center for Equitable Growth. I study and write about this at http://benL88.blogspot.com – The top 400 now pay a tax rate lower than the lower-earning 50% shows a study by Zucman, recently published. The study “The New Gilded Age”, at epi.org, says 1973 to 2015 the top 1% captured 58.7% of all growth, or new income. !!

The US will be able to repay all its debts, especially those to US citizens. All it has to do is print the money. The debt is not the problem unless we continue to obsess over it and make it a problem. The problem is the organization of the economy and the measures by which we decide if it is working. Both aspects are fundamentally flawed and suicidal.

Yes, tax equity is a problem but not as a source of income. That is a problem after the fact. The original problem is 45+ years of suppressed wages. The original problem is rigging the economy to move all or most rewards to those already wealthy, those at the top of the corporate hierarchy and in the top 0.1%. The looming use of AI and other forms of advanced tech will, if nothing done to change the design of the economic system, render most workers into burger flippers, at least those not already so rendered.

We should keep in mind that we started from zero, sort of, after the 2008-9 Great Recession. It’s easier to redouble your profiteering and investments when those conditions exist.