Part 7: Eleven charts that explain everything that’s wrong with America


Your Loss, Their Gain

How much income have you given up for the top 1 percent?

This is the last of a seven part series of 11 charts by Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot courtesy of Mother Jones. We will be reprinting a selection every 24 hours this week. For more cutting edge journalism from Mother Jones, please sign up for their free newsletter at motherjones.  

Part 6: Eleven charts that explain everything that’s wrong with America

This is the sixth of a series of 11 charts by Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot courtesy of Mother Jones. We will be reprinting a selection every 24 hours this week. For more cutting edge journalism from Mother Jones, please sign up for their free newsletter at motherjones.  

Part 5: Eleven charts that explain everything that’s wrong with America


Who’s Winning?

For a healthy few, it’s getting better all the time.

This is the fifth of a series of 11 charts by Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot courtesy of Mother Jones. We will be reprinting a selection every 24 hours this week. For more cutting edge journalism from Mother Jones, please sign up for their free newsletter at motherjones.  

Part 4: Eleven charts that explain everything that’s wrong with America

Capitol Gain

Why Washington is closer to Wall Street than Main Street.

Member Max. Est. Net Worth
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) $451.1 million
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) $435.4 million
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) $366.2 million
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) $294.9 million
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) $285.1 million
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) $283.1 million
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WIj) $231.2 million
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) $201.5 million
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) $136.2 million
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) $108.1 million
Combined Net Worth $2.8 Billion


This is the fourth of a series of 11 charts by Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot courtesy of Mother Jones. We will be reprinting a selection every 24 hours this week. For more cutting edge journalism from Mother Jones, please sign up for their free newsletter at motherjones.com/newsletter.  

Part 3: Eleven charts that explain everything that’s wrong with America

Out of Balance

A Harvard business professor and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable.

Source: Michael Norton and Dan Ariely

This is the third of a series of 11 charts by Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot courtesy of Mother Jones. We will be reprinting a selection every 24 hours this week. For more cutting edge journalism from Mother Jones, please sign up for their free newsletter at motherjones.com/newsletter.  

Part 2: Eleven charts that explain everything that’s wrong with America

Winners Take All

The superrich have grabbed the bulk of the past three decades’ gains.

This is the second of a series of 11 charts by Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot courtesy of Mother Jones. We will be reprinting a selection every 24 hours this week. For more cutting edge journalism from Mother Jones, please sign up for their free newsletter at motherjones.com/newsletter.  

Eleven charts that explain everything that’s wrong with America.


How Rich are the Super Rich?

A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

This is the first of a series of 11 charts by Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot courtesy of Mother Jones. We will be reprinting a selection every 24 hours this week. For more cutting edge journalism from Mother Jones, please sign up for their free newsletter at motherjones.com/newsletter.  

Note: The 2007 data (the most current) doesn’t reflect the impact of the housing market crash. In 2007, the bottom 60% of Americans had 65% of their net worth tied up in their homes. The top 1%, in contrast, had just 10%. The housing crisis has no doubt further swelled the share of total net worth held by the superrich.

Sources

Income Distribution: Emmanuel Saez

Net worth: Edward Wolff

Does Trickle Down Economics Work?


In 1981, Ronald Reagan took office and began instituting trickle-down economics.  The Democratic controlled House cut the marginal tax rate on the highest income tax bracket from 70% to 28% and made similar cuts in capital gains, corporate income tax, and various excise taxes. These policies were continued for the most part by the ensuing administrations.

According to the theory of supply-side economics, the rich would start spending more, and this would increase employment and wages for the poor, so everyone would be better off.

Opponents countered that the rich would simply invest the windfall, or spend it on goods produced overseas, yielding a net loss for the U.S. economy.

It has now been 30 years, so how has it turned out?

Actually, quite badly.

According to this chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, during the post-war period 1945-1980, the both the rich and the poor benefitted from the expansion of the U.S. economy. However, since Reaganomics went into effect the average income of the richest top 1% has almost tripled while the income of most of us (in the bottom 90%) has actually declined.

The “Bush tax cuts” enacted in 2001 and 2003 lowered the marginal tax rate for the high tax bracket from 39.6% to 35.0%. These tax breaks are set to expire at the end of this year.

Most Republican favor extending these tax breaks. Most Democrats favor making the tax breaks permanent only for the first $250,000 of annual income. What do you think?