Top 10% Now Own 77% Of American Wealth


By Jake Johnson
Moyers & Company (9/29/17)

As President Donald Trump and the Republican Party unveiled their “cruel joke” of a tax plan that would provide an enormous boon for the rich disguised as a “middle class miracle,” an analysis by the People’s Policy Project (3P) published Wednesday found that the top 10 percent of the income distribution now owns a “stunning” 77 percent of America’s wealth while those in the bottom 10 percent are “net debtors,” owning -0.5 percent of the nation’s wealth.

In response to the analysis, conducted by 3P president Matt Bruenig, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wrote on Twitter: “Meanwhile, the Walton family of Walmart has a net worth of $144 billion. This is what a rigged economy looks like.”

“We do not live in a democracy. We live in an oligarchy,” added the progressive group Digital Left.

As Trump and the GOP push massive tax cuts for the rich, new data shows that the wealthy are doing better than ever.

3P’s examination of newly released Federal Reserve data also found that “[t]he bottom 38 percent of American families have an average net worth of $0.” By contrast, the top one percent — set to benefit massively from Trump’s tax agenda — owns 38.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. In 1989, that number was 29.9 percent.

The new Fed data also highlighted America’s enormous racial wealth gap.

A recent study conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and the Corporation For Economic Development (CFED) found that “[i]f average black family wealth continues to grow at the same pace it has over the past three decades, it would take black families 228 years to amass the same amount of wealth white families have today.”

“For the average Latino family,” the study found, “it would take 84 years.”

Bruenig notes that in 2016, mean white wealth exceeded $900,000 for the first time. Mean black wealth, by contrast, registered at just under $140,000.

Overall, Bruenig concluded, “[t]he median family in every racial group remains worse off than they were in 2007.”

(photo: People’s Policy Project)


Read the Rest

(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to )


Trump Accused Of Burying Research Showing Trickle-Down Tax Cuts Just ‘Snake Oil’ Scam

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams (9/29/17)

As the Trump team struggles mightily to portray a tax plan that would disproportionatelyreward the wealthy—and Trump himself—as pro-working class, the Treasury Department has reportedly suppressed a government analysis that exposes as false President Donald Trump’s central claim that workers, not rich corporate shareholders, would be the primary beneficiaries of a massive reduction in the corporate tax rate.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Richard Rubin first reportedthat the analysis—published in 2012 by the Office of Tax Analysis (OTA)—was deleted from the Treasury Department’s website on Thursday.

The suppressed study (pdf) demonstrated that “workers pay 18 percent of the corporate tax while owners of capital pay 82 percent,” Rubin noted, a breakdown that the Trump administration and the Republican Party has effectively reversed in selling their proposals to the American public.

“Big Brother in action—Treasury sends study contradicting Trump ideology down the memory hole.”

OTA’s conclusions were “in line with many economists’ views and close to estimates from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and Congressional Budget Office,” Rubin adds. “The JCT, which will evaluate tax bills in Congress, estimates that capital bears 75 percent of the long-run corporate-tax burden, with labor paying the rest.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has argued, against mountains of contrary evidence, that it is in fact workers who end up bearing the brunt of taxes on corporate profits, thus allowing him to paint a massive rate reduction—which Trump has proposed—as a boon for the working class.

As The Week‘s Jeff Spross observes, this is a common right-wing argument. But while conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation claim that corporate tax cuts lead to higher wages for workers, the last several decades of evidence indicate the opposite, Spross concludes.

“[W]henever a company gets a windfall,” Spross writes, “the money goes to wealthy shareholders, CEOs, and the lucky members of the upper class.”

Many argued that the Treasury Department’s removal of the OTA paper amounts to blatant suppression of contradictory evidence in the service of selling “snake oil” to the American public.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called Trump’s tax plan a “scam” and denounced Treasury’s efforts to hide opposing evidence in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

“History has shown most of the pockets lined by corporate tax cuts are found in wealthy shareholder suits,” Wyden concluded. “It is disturbing the Treasury Department is burying research proving that trickle-down economics harms American workers.”

Bruce Bartlett—who by his own admission helped create the GOP myth that tax cuts lead inevitably to economic growth in his role as policy advisor to former President Ronald Reagan—described Treasury’s deletion of the OTA study as “Big Brother in action.”

Bruce Bartlett @BruceBartlettBig Brother in action–Treasury sends study contradicting Trump ideology down the memory hole.
In a video published Friday, economist Robert Reich succinctly explained why the GOP’s claim that “American corporations need a tax cut in order to be competitive” is just plain “rubbish.”