The Winners from the Bush Years - The Top 0.1% of Americans
by Charles Lemos, Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 04:07:25 PM EST
When all is said and done, the Bush legacy is a widening income disparity. Not that this should be a surprise, after all, George W. Bush boasted at a fund-raiser in 2000 of the nation's high and mighty that what he saw there that night dinner was the "haves" and the "have-mores". That top 1% should be quite appreciative. The rest of us, not so much.
Bush's top economic priority was to cut taxes on the supra-wealthy; as he famously said at that dinner, the "have-mores" are his political base. The marginal income-tax rate, the estate tax, the tax on dividends, and the proceeds of the profits tax all fell sharply in his first term. The result is below. The table shows average income gains, adjusted for inflation, from 2002 through 2006.
|Income Group||Dollar Increase||Percentage Increase|
|Bottom 90 Percent||$1,446||4.6%|
|Next 9 Percent||$14,496||10.0%|
|Top 1 Percent||$321,132||41.8%|
|Top 0.1 Percent||$1,809,824||57.6%|
|Source: Washington Monthly|
From the Center for Budget and Policy Priorties:
Average pre-tax incomes in 2006 jumped by about $60,000 (5.8 percent) for the top 1 percent of households, but just $430 (1.4 percent) for the bottom 90 percent, after adjusting for inflation, according to a new update in the groundbreaking series on income inequality by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. Their analysis of newly released IRS data shows that in 2006, the shares of the nation's income flowing to the top 1 percent and top 0.1 percent of households were higher than in any year since 1928.
1928? If the Republican goal of the last 40 years has been to undo the New Deal and the Great Society then by this measure the last 40 years have been a raging success. The GOP says it frowns on redistributive economic policies but the evidence seems to suggest that their policies are nothing but a trickle, if not a flood, up. Let's just hope that this is truly the end of our second gilded age and that the Democratic Party returns to its espousal of an ideology committed to fairness and greater social equality on the domestic front.