Startling income inequity — and what to do about it



Part 1. Here is a disturbing but enlightening chart from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In the clearest visual terms yet, it shows just how thoroughly the super-rich hijacked the U.S. economy during the past 30 years. The chart illustrates how average American households’ incomes, adjusted for inflation, have flatlined since the late 1970s, while the wealthiest 1 percent saw their income practically quadruple. Worse yet, the chart on the right shows that everyone below the top 20 percent actually saw their share of national income decrease in the same period of time. As BlueNC described it, these charts show “the results of the economic policy promoted by Republicans and corporatist Democrats [Clinton and to a large extent, Obama].”


Part 2. Here is what Democrats in Congress, if they cared to do something such as, you know, be actual Democrats, could do about the situation, rather than kowtow to House GOPers who, need we remind them, hold a majority in only one of two legislative houses in D.C. This is from a column on the subject by Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

Hike taxes on the super-rich. Reform the tax code to create more brackets at the top with higher rates for millionaires and billionaires. Absurdly, the top bracket is now set at $375,000 with a tax rate of 35 percent; the second-highest bracket, at 33 percent, starts at $172,000 for individuals. But the big money is way higher.

The source of income shouldn't matter -- salary, wages, capital gains, other unearned income -- all should be treated the same. There's no reason to reward speculators. (Don't penalize true entrepreneurs, though. If they're owners who have held their assets for at least 20 years, keep their capital gains [taxes] low.)

And while you're at it, raise the ceiling on income subject to Social Security taxes. And bring back the estate tax.

Amen, Brother Robert.

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