The U.S. military accouts for more than half of all federal
government discretionary funding and 20% of the entire federal budget,
to Mother Jones magazine, adding that the Pentagon also controls 70% of
federal government's property, land (it would take 93 cities the size of
fill the land) and equipment -- worth about $1.8 trillion. (The Pentagon
also operates more than 170 golf courses around the world.)
The current Department of Defense budget exceeds $800 billion. In 2015,
U.S. military spending accounted for 37% of worldwide military spending
(more than $1.6 trillion) -- U.S. spending was the same size as the seven
next largest military budgets around the world, combined -- including
China and Russia. according to the National Priorities Project and Phil
Hanson in the Cascadia Weekly.
Hanson argues that now U.S. spending
exceed that of 16 of the next largest-spending countries and by 2024,
Department of Defense spending on personnel alone, including health,
salaries, retirement, etc., will exceed its budget for everything else.
(Currently, the Pentagon employs 3 million people, 800,000 more than
Walmart, according to Mother Jones.)
Mother Jones also said the top 0.1 percent of American households average
about $27 million while the bottom 90 percent average around $31.000
that since 1979, the richest 0.1 percent's share of income after taxes has
risen by more than 120% while most other households have seen a decrease
in their share.
President Donald Trump signed on Dec. 22, 2017, sweeping tax legislation
that Congressional Republicans pushed through earlier in the week,
according to a New York Times report in the Seattle times Dec. 23.
Called the Act to Provide for Reconciliation Pursuant to Titles II
and V of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2018
(although Republicans wanted to call it the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of
2017), the legislation is revision of the U.S. tax code. According to
the Associated Press, the revision will add at least $1.46 trillion to
the federal deficit, now at $20 trillion. The debt will
increase $1 trillion in the next decade.
The bill gives
corporations a 40% tax
cut (to 21% from the current 35%) and lowers the tax paid by wealthy Americans
to 37% from the current 39.6%. The top 1% of earners ($733,000 or more
per year) will get an average tax cut of 3.4% (around $50,000), the top 0.1%
an average cut of 2.7% (about $190,000) and
taxpayers earning less than $25,000 will see a 0.4% cut (about $60), according to
Carolyn Lockhead of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The corporate tax cut is permanent, but the individual cuts will expire
by 2026, AP noted.
The president would have delayed signing the bill if Congress had not also
passed a bill which included delaying automatic spending cuts to programs
such as Medicare, which the huge tax cuts would have triggered. He signed
that bill too -- it included $4 billion for missile defense.
In addition, drilling in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska will now be allowed, which is a
"sham," Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell said, according to Lynda V. Mapes,
Seattle Times environmental reporter.
for not purchasing health care coverage, as required by the Afforadable
Healthcare Act, will end, AP said.
The Alternative Minimum Tax, which is aimed at making the wealthy and
corporations pay at least some tax, is repealed for corporations, and the
wealthy see a higher amount of their income exempted before the tax
kicks in. Corporations are also given a one-time opportunity
to bring back profits kept overseas. (The Federal Reserve estimates corporations,
including the likes of Facebook, Apple and Google, have $2.3 trillion stashed
Under the revision, usinesses are able to immediately write off the full
cost of new equipment, and from 2018 through 2025, the estate tax
will not kick in until after the first $10-million. The tax
previously excluded only $5 million.
A Quinnipiac University poll of American voters found 55% are convinced the
benefits of the new tax structure will flow mainly to corporations and the
wealthy, and 26% of voters do not hold such a belief, the AP said.
President Trump also ordered dramatic changes to the presidential
challenge coin, which traditionally has been handed out as momentos. Trump
has replaced the presidential seal with an eagle bearing Trump's own
signature, erased the 13 arrows representing the 13 original states,
and changed the national motto, "E pluribus unum"(which means "Out of
many, one") to his campaign slogan, "Make American Great Again," and put
it on both sides of the coin, according to the Washington Post as reported
in the Seattle Times.
Trump's name appears three times on the coin, it is thicker and it is
"very gold," not the traditional silver and copper.
Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate and House reached agreement Dec. 13, 2017,
on a compromise tax reform bill that would cut the corporate tax rate to 21%
from the current 35% and cut the individual tax rate for the rich to 37%
-- down from the current 39.6%, according to a New York Times report in
the Dec. 14 Seattle Times.
The compromise bill, which still needs another vote before it would signed by
President Trump, has many features of the Senate version passed earlier, some
of which would become effective for the 2017 tax year.
In the compromise, oil
drilling will be allowed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and
and the penalty for not buying healthcare coverage, as requried by the
Affordable Healthcare Act, would be removed.
The alternative minimum tax would apply to fewer wealthy taxpayers, as it
kicks in for persons earning $500,000 and for couples earning $1 million -- or
more. Democrats still oppose the $1.5 trillion bill, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon,
the ranking Democrat on the finance committee, saying at the only public
hearing on the compromise bill, "Let's understand what's happening
today is a sham."
"This is the ultimate betrayal of the middle class," he said, according to
WashintonPost.com in the afternoon of Dec. 13, 2017.
The bill is the biggest rewrite of the tax code
in three decades. Republicans have said the bill is a tax cut
for the middle class, especially in the next few years, but multiple
independent analyses say its benefits skew
toward the wealthy and corporations, according to the WashingtonPost.com report.
The U.S. Senate on Dec. 2 passed along party lines, 51-49, its version
of a 500-page tax
The bill passed included hand-scrawled changes written in the
margins, which Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she
struggled to make sense of. Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
said senators would have "plenty of time" to read the bill they
passed before it goes to
a conference committee with the House, according to New York Times
According to the Wasington Post, the bill provides a $1.5 trillion tax
cut, with substantial benefits for the rich and lowering the tax rate
for corporations to 20% from its current 35% (see more specifics in
entries below), although it would not eliminate the alternative minimum
tax for corporations and people
earning $70,600 and couples earning $109,400 in taxable income.
The bill would eliminate current deductions for state and local incometax
payments and now allow taxpayers to write off only $10,000 of their
The bill also would allow oil drilling in the 1.5 million acres of the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Jeff Bezoz, who surpassed Bill Gates as the world's richest person earlier
in 2017, topped the $100 billion mark by early December (Gates attained a
12-digit fortune in 1999 but is worth less now), according to
Bezos's net worth has increased almost $33 billion during 2017. Bezoz
originally passed Gates in October and has contined to grow in wealth.
Bloomberg noted that
Gates and Warren Buffett, the world's third richest person, give hugely to
charity but Bezos has not done so.
The final House of Representatives tax plan proposed Nov. 2, 2017 [and
later passed by the House], would
cut the corporate tax rate to 20% (from the current 35%), which
would reduce federal revenue by $1.5 trillion over the next decade,
according to the Joint Committee on Taxation and reported Nov. 3 in the
The plan would also double the estate-tax exemption, allowing about
the first $11 million to go untaxed, instead of the current $5.49
million. [The plan passed the House, and a similar plan was being pushed
Senate Republicans in December. If the Senate plan passes, a conference
committee would determine the final plan.]
Although the top tax rate for those earning more than $1 million
a year would remain at 39.6%, the plan
ultimately eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which, as noted
below in an April 2017 listing, makes it harder for the rich to
manipulate the tax system to pay less tax.
President Trump had to pay an additional $31 million in 2005 as
required by the AMT, according to his only tax record that has been obtained.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, has surpassed Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, as the world's
richest person. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index on Nov. 1, Bezos
is worth $94.1 billion while Gates is worth $88.3 billion. Seven of the top 10, nine of
the top 15 and 12 of the top 20 richest persons are American.
Warren Buffet ($80.4 billion), Amancio Ortega, of Spain ($79.3 billion), Mark Zuckerberg,
Facebook ($76.3 billion), Carlos Slim, of Mexico ($61.5 billion), Bernard Arnault, of France
billion), Larry Ellison ($55.9 billion), Larry Page ($51.1 billion) and Sergey Brin ($49.9
billion) round out the top ten.
In a story about the late-2017 tax code proposal being crafted by Congress. the
tax rate for corporations would be cut to 20 percent (from the current 35%), according to
a Nov. 1 Seattle Times story.
As noted below, the tax-code overhaul first presented in April by the president would cut the
tax rate for rich Americans, himself included, to 35%, down from the current rate of over
The earlier plan would also cut the rate paid by businesses -- small,
and large, including corporations --to 15% (from
the current 35%) and allow them to pay no tax on overseas profits or
money parked overseas. Plus it would lower the capital-gains tax by 3.8%
and repeal the inheritance tax, which, critics say helps the president's family and
The final version of the latest plan being polished by Republicans was due
to be released
in November (of 2017).
The number of people in the top 1 percent in the world -- those with at
million to invest -- grew by 8.3 percent in 2017, according to World
Wealth Report 2017 from Capgemini and reported by Suzanne Woolley of
Bloomberg News in October 2017.
The report also found that the millionaires in North America grew by 7.8
percent -- an acceleration from 2 percent in 2015 -- and the wealth of the
ultrarich grew by 9.2 percent.
The U.S. president, Donald Trump, has lied about whether the latest tax
proposal would benefit the rich and his own family, according to
syndicated columnist, Timoth Egan (in October 2017). Egan said the plan
will eliminate the
estate tax and ensure that the top 1 percent will get 50 percent of the
The July 2017 Republican health plan proposal would by 2026 give
the top 1 percent
(people earning $875,000 or more) an average tax cut of about $40,000,
while those earning from $50,000 to $90,000 would get a $300 cut,
according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington, D.C. nonpartisan think
tank, and reported in the Seattle Times on July 6, 2017.
The GOP plan would provide the cut mostly from a repeal of taxes
high-income pay because of the Affordabe Care Act, the report said.
The U.S. military leads America's rich at being rich. According to
oneminuteforpeace.org, the military currently receives 57% of America's
discretionary budget while the spending on all other areas together (such
as Education, Science, Labor, Internationa Affairs, Health, Veteran's
Benefits) accounts for 43%. Every minute the U.S. spends $1.2 million
on its military.
The military would get even richer (by 10% according to Peter Baker of the
New York Times) under the 2018 discretionary budget of President
Donald Trump -- receiving 59% of discretionary funds ($679 billion),
with everything else together getting 41%, according to Lindsay
Koshgarian, of nationalpriorities.org.
There are more billionaires in 2017 than
ever before. The nuumber
of the world's richest people worth more than $1 billion jumped by 13%
from the 1,810 who were that wealthy in 2016. Now, there are 2,043 --
with total net worth up 18% -- $7.67 trillion, according to
Forbes.com, which used stock prices on Feb. 17 to obtain the ranking.
Bill Gates is still the richest of the lot (for the fourth year in a
row) with a fortune of $86 billion, $11 billion higher than last year.
Warren Buffett is the second richest, worth $75.6 billion, and Jeff
Bezos is third ($72.8 billion -- his wealth has increased $27.6
billion from last year).
Rounding out the top 10 (eight of them are Americans) are Amancio
Ortega, of Spain, ($71.3 billion); Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook ($56
billion); Carlos Slim Helu, of Mexico ($54.5 billion); Larry Ellison
($52.2 billion); Charles Koch ($48.3 billion); David Kock (also $48.3
billion); and Michael Bloomberg ($47.5 billion).
President Trump's proposed tax-code overhaul presented on April 26 would cut the
tax rate for rich Americans, himself included, to 35%, down from the current rate of
39.5%, and eliminate the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which makes it harder
for the rich to manipulate the tax system to pay less tax. Trump had to
pay an additional $31 million in 2005 as required by the AMT, according to his
only tax record that has been obtained.
Trump's plan would also cut the rate paid by businesses -- small,
and large, including corporations --to 15% (from
the current 35%) and allow them to pay no tax on overseas profits or
money parked overseas. Plus it would lower the capital-gains tax by 3.8%
and repeal the inheritance tax, which, critics say helps his family and
Democrats said the plan masquerades as a tax-overhaul but is really a giveaway to
the rich, Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, calling it "an unprincipled tax
plan that will result in cuts for the 1 percent ... and (provide only) crumbs for
the working people."
The Trump administration is the most wealthy in U.S. history, according to
reporters of the New York Times, citing a tally by Bloomberg News. Members
of Trump's senior staff and Cabinet are worth an estimated $12 billion.
Trump's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who
advise Trump, are worth as much as
Until January Kushner was CEO of a family-run real-estate
investment firm, Kushner Cos., a business that has taken part in
at least $7 billion worth of acquisitions during the past 10
For 258 of profitable Fortune 500 companies even though the top corporate
tax rate is 35%, nearly 40% of the companies paid no taxes in at least one
year between 2008 and 2015, according to The New York Times' Patricia
Cohen, in March 2017, citing the
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a leftish Washington, D.C.
Eighteen of them, including Priceline.com GE and PG&E, had a federal tax
bill of less than zero over the entire eight years -- they got money
The companies with the largest tax subsidies during the period include
AT&T ($38.1 billion), Wells Fargo ($34.1 billion), JPMorgan Chase ($22.2
billion), Verizon ($21.1 billion), IBM ($17.8 billion), GE ($15.4
billion), Exxon Mobile ($12.90 billion), Boeing ($11.9 billion) and
Procter & Gamble ($8.5 billion).
The U.S. House of Representatives
health-care bill would give
to America's rich huge cuts over the next decade in $600 billon of taxes,
according to an Associated Press report in March 2017.
In one of the tax cuts of $158 billion
on inventment income for high-income individuals and families,
those who make $700,000 a year or more would get 90% of the money,
according to Stephen Ohlemacher, citing the nonpartisan Committee on
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee noted the proposal would repeal a tax on
individuals making over $200,000 a year and called the GOP plan a "tax
cut for the rich masquerading as health-care reform."
Eight super-rich men -- six of them Americans -- own as much of the
wealth as the poorest half of the global population -- 3.6 billion people
-- according to Oxfam, a Swiss anti-poverty organization, in January
2017 and using Forbes' billionaires list to make the assessment.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the richest person ($75 billion), and
Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison and Michael
Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, are the other Americans on the list.
(Spain's Amancio Orrega and Mexico's Carlos Slim Helu are the remaining
Oxfam's policy adviser, Max Laweson, cited the "Panama Papers," leaked
in 2016, in saying billionaires mostly don't pay their share of taxes
(often paying less thas "than their cleaner or their secretary"), thus
creating a global trust crisis.
Implications of the crisis are "deep and wide-ranging," according to
CEO Richard Edelman, wo said the consequence is virulent populism and
nationalism, which along with the "emergene or a media echo chamber" shuts
out opposing views and magnifies a "cycle of distrust."
"The lack of trust in media has also given rise to the fake-news
phenomenon and politicians speaking directly to the masses," Edelman
President-elect Trump's cabinet, which includes seven prospective members
worth a combined $11 billion, would be the richest cabinet in U.S.
history, according to CBSnews.com. During the campaign, Trump proposed to
cut taxes by $6 trillon over 10 years, with steep tax rate cuts for
corporations and higher-income individuals, Latimes.com reported.
Trump's tax plan would give each of the richest 0.1 percent of
American households an average $1.1 million tax cut while giving each
of the poorest 20 percent of households a tax cut of $110, according to the
nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, as reported in the Seattle Times.
Trump, himself, acknowledged Oct. 9 that he used a $916 million loss
reported on his 1995 tax return to avoid paying any personal income tax
for up to 18 years, the New York Times reported Oct. 9, 2016.
The number of billionaires in the U.S. has increased tenfold since 2000,
former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders noted in October 2016.
America's 50 largest companies received $27 back in federal loans, loan
guarantees and bailouts for each dollar they paid in taxes between 2008
and 2014, according to Nicholas Kristof, citing a study compiled by Oxfam
Kristof said another study found that major corporation tax dodging cost
the U.S. Treasury up to $111 billion a year, and he cited a USA Today
analysis showing that, among the
Standard and Poor's index 500 corporations, 27 were both profitiable in
2015 and yet paid no net income tax globally.
Overall, he wrote, the corporate taxation share in federal revenue has
declined from 32 percent in 1952 to 11 percent -- while the share coming
from payroll taxes has climbed.
The total amount for all Fortune 500 companies held in offshore accounts
has reached $2.4 trillion -- which would result in a federal tax bill of
more than $600 million, according to Danny Westneat of the Seattle
Times, whop cited Citizens for Tax Justice, a tax-policy think tank.
The top tax-dodgers are Pfizer, Apple, Microsoft
(all with over $100 billion each overseas), and Amazon and Expedia both
$1.5 billion in profits off shore as
well (Costco, Starbucks and Paccar are on the list too), Westneat wrote.
The 20 wealthiest Americans are worth more than the poorer half of
entire American population, Nicholas Kristof reported in February 2016,
citing a report by the Institute for Policy Studies.
The report also said Forbes' wealthiest 100 Americans together are worth
as much as all African-Americans (over 42 million people or roughly 14%
of the American population).
Kristof reported that the pharmaceutical industry used lobbying to get
Congress to prohibit the government from bargaining for drug prices in
Medicare. The ban amounts to a $50 billion annual gift to the industry.
By the end of 2015, the
wealthiest 1 percent
were to be in control of more wealth than everyone else in the world put
together, according to Tim Redmond in a Nov. 15 report about Project Censored's list of news items
the media ignore.
Citing the project and Oxfam International's January 2015 report,
Redmond also said that the wealth of 85 of the richest people in the world
equals the combined wealth of one-half of all the world's poor.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the richest person in the world, is
also the richest person ("479.6 billion net worth) in the tech world,
according to the August 2015
Forbes World's Richest in Tech listing. Oracle founder Larry
Ellison ($50 billion) is second on the list and Amazon's Jeff Bezos ($47.8
billion) is third. Others in the top 10 are Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page,
Sergey Brin, Jack Ma, Steve Ballmer, Laurene Powel Jobs and family and
Michael Dell. American make up 51 of the top 100, and Asians, 33. Only
eight are Europeans -- and just seven, women. The average age is 53, a
decade younger than the average of all billionaires. Fifteen of the top
100 are under 40.
About 60 donations to 2016 presidential campaigns of $1 million or more
(Hedge fund biggie Robert Mercer
gave $11 million) accounted for a third of more than $380 million raised
in the first six months of 2015, according to the Associated Press on Aug.
Boeing Corporation is the biggest recipient of state and
local tax incentives, with more that $13 billion of them, according to
GoodJobsFirst.org as reported in the Seattle Times on March 17, 2015.
The former Seattle-based corporation compiled enough subsidies from
Washington state to make
Washington the second biggest tax-incentive provider (behind New York).
also was a winner of federal subsidies and loans, totalling more than $450
million in subsidies and $64 billion in loans.
The wealthiest 10% of Amercians owned about 80% of stock at the
end of 2014, according to the Federal
Reserve and as reported by the Seattle Times on March 13, 2015.
In March 2015, Forbes.com said the top 10 richest billionaires (see
below) are Bill
Gates ($79.2 billion), Carlos Slim Helu ($77.1 billion), Warren Buffet
($727 billion), Amanacio Ortega ($64.5 billion), Larry Ellison ($54.3
billion), the Koch brothers, Charles Koch ($42.9 billion) and David Koch
($42.9 billion) -- together, the richest by far -- and Christy and
Jim Walton ($41.7 and 40.6 billion), and completing the list Liliane
Bettencourt ($40.1 billion)
On Jan. 15, 2015, counterpunch.org published a chart showing that in the
last 40 years (since 1950), hourly compensation for American workers has
increased only 113.1%
while U.S. productivity has increased 254.3%.
The website's article quoted economist Lawrence Mishel, who noted that
1973 and 2011, the growth of "real hourly compensation of the median
worker" increased by just 10.7%. (In the same period, productivity
increased over 150%.)
In 2014, Earth's richest people added $92 billion to their
wealth. Citing Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bloomberg News wrtiters
Peter Newcomb and Alex Sazonov noted on Jan. 4, 2015, in the Bellingham
Herald that the net worth of the top 400
billionaires on Dec. 29, 2014, stood at $4.1 trillion.
The biggest gain went to Jack Ma, co-founder of China's largest e-commerce
company, Alibaba Group -- he added $25.1 billion to his fortune.
Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway) added $13.7 billion to his wealth to become
the world's second richest person (passing Mexican
telecommunications billionaire, Carlos Slim, to
take over runnerup spot billionaire Bill Gates,
co-founder of Microsoft, who added $9.1 billion).
As of Dec. 31, 2014, Gates was worth $86.6 billion; Buffett, $73.8
billion; Slim, $72.6 billion.
The Bloomberg index listed conservative brothers, Charles and Paul Koch,
whose biggest asset is Georgia-Pacific, at just over
$50 billion each -- number five and six on the richest
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) saw his fortune gain $10.6 billion -- he was
13th riches on the list and, as of Dec. 31, 2014, was worth $34.5
in 2014 made about 257 times the average worker's salary, an increase
from 181 times in 2009 (in 2013, pay for U.S. workers as a whole increased
1.3 percent), according to Associated Press reporter Josh Boak in the May
29, 2014, Seattle Times.
The year 2013 was the fourth year in a row that
CEO compensation increased -- the
average CEO of an S&P 500 company earned $10.5 million, up 8.8 percent
from $9.6 in 2012, Boak wrote, citing an Associated
Press/Equilar pay study.
The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2013, adding
$524 bilion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg
Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world's 300 wealthiest
The aggregate net worth of the world's top billionaires stood at
$3.7 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31, 2013, according to
Of the 300 people who appeared on the final
ranking of 2013, only 70 registered a net loss for the 12-month period,
the report said. Bill Gates, was the year's biggest gainer, increasing his
wealth by $15.8 billion to a total of $78.5 billion.
The richest 85 people in the world hold as much wealth as the bottom half of
the global population, according to a January 2014 report by Oxfam
International, a British humanitarian group, as reported in the Seattle
About 3.5 billion people, the bottom half, account for
about $1.7 trillion while the wealthy elite, a small part of the richest 1
percent, now hold about 46 percent of the world's wealth -- $110 trillion --
the report said.
It also said the percentage of income of the richest 1 percent in America has
grown almost 150 percent from 1980 through 2012 -- and has received 95 percent
of wealth created after the financial crisis in 2008.
(A Gallup poll on
Jan. 20, 2014 found that two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied with the
way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.)
Billionaires of the world in 2012 added $241 billion to their wealth,
according to the 2012-2013 Project Censored's sixth most
underreported news story.
Its second most underreported story states that global "corprate fatcats"
hold $21 to $31 trillion in off shore havens to avoid governbment
In 2013, the 400 richest Americans are worth just over $2 trillion,
roughly the GDP
of Russia, according to Forbes.com on Sept. 17, 2013.
Forbes said Bill Gates tops
the list, with wealth of $72 billion (up $12.5 billion from 2012); Warren
Buffett is the second wealthiest, with $58.5 billion (up more than $12.5
from 2012); the conservative Koch brothers, Charles and David, stand at
4th and 5th on the list, with a total wealth that equaled Gates' wealth
($36 billion each -- Larry Ellison of Oracle is in third place with wealth
of $41 billion).
The top 1 percent of U.S earners in 2012 grabbed 22.5 percent of all
income earned by Americans, up from its 19.7 percent level in 2011,
according to the Seattle Times on Sept. 11, 2013, which cited an updated
economists Emmanuel Saed and Thomas Piketty.
According to the story, the
2012 pretax income of the 1 percent was above $394,000.
The top 10 percent of earners toook more than half of America's total income
in 2012 (income of the to 10 percent exceeded $114,000), the story said.
The top 7 percent of U.S. households (in 2011) owned 63 percent of the
nation's total household wealth, up from 56 percent in 2009 (according to
the Pew Research Center), and the average net worth of the top 7 percent
of the wealth distribution increased by 28 percent (to $3.2 million, up
from $2.5 million) while the lower 93 percent
dropped by 4 percent (to $134,000 from $140,000), according to an April
24, 2013, AP article in the Seattle Times.
The richest people on Earth got even richer in 2012 -- they added $241 billion to
their collective net worth. That net worth stood at $1.9 trillion at
the end of December, according to a Jan. 2, 2013, Seattle Times
article (citing Bloomberg Billionaires
Through 2011, the main drivers of the 2012 U.S. government $11.3 trillion
national debt (called the "fiscal cliff") are the Bush-era tax cuts
dollars), interest on the national debt ($1,386 billion dollars) and the
Afghan and Iraq wars ($1,262 billion dollars), along with stimulus
spending, Medicare drug plan spending, etc., according to the Nov. 12,
2012 Seattle Times. [Just as 2013 began, Congress passed and President Obama signed
a bill preserving most of the Bush-era tax cuts.]
After presidential candidate Mitt Romney claimed 47% of Americans "pay no
income tax" and are "dependent upon government," media noted that
because of tax loopholes, not near-poverty income, 1,400
millionaires paid no federal income taxes in 2009 (Robertson Williams,
senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center) and that in 2011 the corporate
"person" Boeing had no net income-tax liability for the fourth year in a
row, despite $5.1 billion in profits (Danny Westneat), according to the
Seattle Times, Sept. 19, 2012.
In the summer of 2012, presidential candidate Mitt Romney
extending all the George W. Bush tax cuts to the rich (see below) --
saving wealthy enought to pay for three more butlers --
while President Obama proposed preserving only some of the Bush tax cuts
-- saving the rich enough to add only one butler -- according to
David Sirota in the July 21, 2012, Seattle Times.
Corporate taxes as a percentage of the
U.S. Gross Domestic
Product decreased from 7.2% in 1945 to 1.3% in 2010 -- while profits
increased from nearly nothing in 1945 to $1.8 trillion in 2010. At the
same time individuals paid a 42.3% share of tax revenue in 2010 while
corporation paid 7.2% -- source, Seattle Times, Feb. 23, 2012.
Wells Fargo, At&T, Verizon, General Electric, IBM, Exxon Mobile and Boeing
together got tax breaks totaling just under $70 billion between 2008 and
2010, the Seattle Times reported on Feb. 23, 2012.
Some superwealthy lashed out at protests against the greed of the richest
1% -- saying the protesters were imbeciles and calling rules that require
companies to disclose the ratio of pay between CEOs and employees
"insane," according to the Dec. 21, 2011 Seattle Times, which noted that
average U.S. household income increased 62% between 1969 and 2007 -- but
income for the top 1% rose more than 300%.
Compensation in fiscal year 2010 for American CEOs increased by a median
27%, according to the Los Angeles Times. CEOs from the S&P 500 took a
median 36.5% increase in compensation, the Times said, citing the ninth
annual report from the research group GMI.
Paul Krugman noted in November 2011 that all American redistribution of
income away from the bottom 80% has gone to the highest-income 1% --
and that a report looking only through 2005 found that almost two-thirds
of the rising share of top 1% income went to the top 0.1% (the richests
one-thousandth), who saw their income rise more than 400% from 1979 to
Krugman added that the top 0.1% is not heroic entrepreneurs -- instead,
corporate executives, executives in nonfinancial companies (Wall Street
executives), lawyers and real estate kings.
"'We are the
99 percent' is a clear message. It is unfair and,
in fact, digusting that the American political economy is run for the benefit of a
plutocracy. I don't see how that can be misunderstood," said Todd Gitlin
(president of the former Students for a Democratic Society in the
mid-1960s) at the Occupy Wall Street protest Oct. 5, 2011, according to
the Oct. 10 Seattle Times.
Fifty percent of all American workers earned less than $26,364 in 2010, fewer jobs
were available and overall pay was trending downward, except for the wealthiest, with
the number of people making $1 million or more rising 18 percent from 2009, according
to an Oct. 21, 2011, Seattle Times article citing Social Security Administration
CEO pay has multiplied, with the median value of salaries, bonuses and
incentives for the CEOs of 350 huge American corporations rising 11% in
2010 to $9.3 million, according to a Wall Street Journal study that was
cited by the Cascadia Weekly on Aug. 31, 2011. Bonuses rose 19.7% too --
and these increases do not include stock-option rewards.
The top 0.1% of U.S. earners grabbed more than 10% of U.S. personal income
(including capital gains), and the top 1% grabbed more than 20% (in 2008, the
lastest year figures are available), the June 21, 2011, Seattle Times reported.
The big earners are executives and managers (even in boring areas like
the milk business). Since 1970, executive pay has increased 430%, far
above a 250% increase U.S. corporate profits -- and wildly above the
26% increase in wages for ordinary workers.
A dozen U.S. businesses -- with profits of $171 billion over the past
three years -- paid a NEGATIVE $2.5 billion in federal taxes. Boeing had
$9.7 billion in profts over this 2008-10 period and had a total federal
tax rate of -1.8 percent. In the decade ending in 21010, Boeing's profits
$29 billion, yet it paid MINUS $948 million in federal taxes, according to
the July 3, 2011 Seattle Times' Danny Westneat (citing a Citizens for Tax
The average federal income tax rate for the 400 most super rich (average
income of $345 million in 2007, the most recent year for IRS data) was
17%; it had been as high as 26% in 1992, according to an Associated Press
story on Page 1 of the April 18, 2011, Seattle Times.
The richest 1 tenth of 1 percent of Americans is only 13,000 households
and earned more than 11 percent of the nation's total 2007 income,
according to columnist Bob Herbert in the Sept. 15, 2010, Seattle Times.
The top 1 percent of earners has seen its share of America's income
increase from 9 percent in the 1970s to 10 percent in the 1980s, to 19
percent in the late 1990s -- and to 23 percent in 2007, the most
recent year complete data is available.
The super-rich get super-richer, according to the Aug. 23, 2010 New
Yorker, which reported that between 2002 and 2007, the top one percent of
rich Americans have seen their share of the national income double. And,
within that group, the top 0.1 percent have seen their share of national
income triple -- by themselves, they earn as much as the bottom 120
million people in America.
The top 1% of Americans saw their real income rise 700% between 1980
and 2007 while the real income of the median family increased only 22% --
a third of its growth the previous 27 years, according to an August
2009 New York Times column by Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner.
By 2006, income was more concentrated for the rich than at any time since
the beginning of the great depression -- but the current recession is
beginning to make them a bit less rich, the New York Times reported in
late August of 2009. But they were still rich. (According to the IRS, in
the late 70s, each of the highest-earning households -- the top 1/10,000
-- earned over $2 million, adjusted for inflation, while in 2007 they
each made over $11.5 million.)
By 2004, the top 1 percent of Americans took 16% of national income --
whereas in Japan, it took a little over 8% and Sweden, it took just under
6%, according to TooMuchOnline.org.
One percent of the world's adults own 40% of the world's wealth --
most of the richest people live in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific
nations, according to a U.N. University report. (The average adult wealth
is $181,000 in Japan and $144,000 in
the U.S. as compared, for example, to Indonesia with $1,400.)
The wealthiest 20% of households own 50% of U.S. wealth the Census
Bureau showed in 2002 -- that's up from 44 percent in 1973.
For the bottom 20%, their share is now only 3.5%, down from 4.2% in
Now, 10% own 80% of the nation's property -- and 13,000 of its richest
families have net worth equal to the 20 million poorest families.
By mid-2010, the pre-Bush budget surplus of $5.6 trillion had become a
$13 trillion, according to http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock (as of
3.25.10) -- see the clock for the current debt total: National debt
The richest 1% of Americans now own 37% of the wealth -- more than the poorest
16 million Americans now live in deep poverty (annual income less than
$9,903) -- a grown of 26% from 2000 to 2005, according to a McClatchy
Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures.
The percent of American poor in extreme poverty has grown from 29.9% in
1975 to 43.1% in 2005.
Over the last 20 years, America has had the highest or nearly highest
poverty rates for individual adults, families and children among 31
developed countries (Luxembourg Income Study).
Over its course, the 2001 tax cut gave almost 40 percent of
the cut to the richest 1%.
The added tax breaks of 2003
similarly benefited the rich (savings for those with income
under $10,000 will be $5, with 8 million low-income taxpayers not
receiving anything and another 6.5 million low-income taxpayers not
receiving a $400 child-care tax credit -- which excludes 12 million
The Seattle P-I reported that under the tax cuts, on their 2004 taxes,
President Bush saved over $29,000 and Vice President Cheney, $81,336.
For those with incomes over $1
million, tax savings
Prior to that, the tax burden for the richest 1% increased by 48% between
1979 and 1997 -- but their income grew 157% (to an average of $677,900 --
up from $263,700 in 1979).
Congressional Budget Office statistics show that adjusted for
of American families in the middle rose from $41,900 in 1979 to $45,100 in
(a 9% increase) while the income of families in the top 1% of income rose
from $420,200 in
1979 to $1.016 million in 1997 (a 140% increase).
That means that in 1979, the richest 1% of families
made 10 times that of the average family but by 1997 were making 23
times the amount -- and the gap is still growing.
Large-company CEOs, on average, earn 500 times more than the average
worker, the Seattle P-I reported Feb. 1, 2007 -- in 1980, CEO salaries
were only 42 times greater.
Now, the nation's 10 highest paid CEOs make $154 million a year as opposed
to the $3.5 million made by the top 10 in 1981.
In 1974, the average CEO made 34 times as much as a production or
In 1990, it was 96 times as much.
In 2000, it was 458 times as much.
The average CEO of a major corporation makes $13.1 million a year in
compensation (about $36,000 a day).
An estimated 61 percent of U.S. corporations paid no federal taxes
between 1996 and 2000.
Worker pay in the year 2000 was lower, inflation-adjusted, than in 1980
while CEO pay was 10 times higher (workers averaged $28,900 in 1980 and
$28,597 -- inflation-adjusted in 2000)
CEOs averaged $1.3 million in 1980 (in year 2000 dollars) and $13.1
million in 2000.
The 2001 income tax booklet shows that half the federal income for
Fiscal Year 2000 came from personal income tax. Corporations provided
According to Harpers (July 2004) 61 percent of U.S.
corporations paid no federal taxes between 1996 and 2000.
In October 2004, Congress passed and President Bush [later signed] a
tax-cut bill of $136 billion for corporations, the Seattle P-I reported
Oct. 12, 2004.
The same day, the P-I reported that one in five jobs in America earns
poverty-level wages, meaning 39 million Americans earn barely enough to
cover basic needs.
1.3 more million Americans are below the poverty line
1.4 million more people are without health insurance
2 million jobs have been lost in the private sector
The budget surplus of $5.6 trillion has become a deficit of $400 billion
Economic growth has been 1%, the lowest of any presidency in 50 years
Value of stocks held by Americans dropped $4.5 trillion, equal to a 30
percent drop in the value of IRAs and 401(k) plans