The Winners from the Bush Years - The Top 0.1% of Americans

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 GroupDollar IncreasePercentage 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.

Tags: George W. Bush, US Income Distribution (all tags)



He's a criminal, pure and simple

We'd lock up a poor black kid for robbing 100 bucks from a 7/11

George Bush and Richard Cheney should be in prison for the rest of their miserable worthless lives.

Oh, actually, I would prefer Cheney was publically executed...

But, I am a purist at heart!

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-05 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: The Winners from the Bush Years - The Top 0.1%

When did it become hip for bloggers to use "..not so much" .. It seems like every diary has this now.

by obama4presidente 2008-12-05 04:45PM | 0 recs
I have one thing to say...


by kevin22262 2008-12-05 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The Winners - The Top 0.1% of Americans

Now you'll have all of our Obamacans and top end creative class pissed at you. Class warfare, so divisive.

Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate real estate, liquidate the automobile manufacturers!

by souvarine 2008-12-05 05:43PM | 0 recs
And what does the diarist think...

...about the Capital Gains tax...essentially enabling folks with all this money to have their gains taxed at the same rate as someone making $40,000 per year?

by bobswern 2008-12-05 05:53PM | 0 recs
What went down can go up.

We would do well to remember that in 1959, when Republican Dwight Eisenhower was President, the top tax rate on the richest Americans was 91%.  Today that rate is down to about 35%.

Look at it this way. our Country and the world needs a whole lot of money to fix the current economic crisis, and to address global warming during the next several decades.  Even before this fall's economic meltdown, it was commonly understood that we have already saddled future generation with far too much debt.

So if we need a lot more money to fix things, and we can't pass that debt on to our kids and grand kids, and the super-rich have more than enough money to pay for what needs to be done, it is easy to see what will be done - we will start raising taxes on the super-rich until what needs to be done gets done.  If that means raising the top tax rate back up to 91% and beyond, so be it, because, ask yourself; what other choice do we have?

by Georgeo57 2008-12-05 06:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush Buddies Win Big

Dubya?  I feel like a rape victim must feel when the rapist is on the way out the door.

by azAZ09 2008-12-06 04:32AM | 0 recs


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