The Top 0.1% Of The Nation Earn Half Of All Capital Gains

Posted on November 22, 2011


We’ve all heard by now about the income disparity between 99% of the nation and the top 1% of the nation, but it’s even more outrageous when you compare the .01% of the nation to 99.9% of the nation.

The Top 0.1% Of The Nation Earn Half Of All Capital Gains

ForbesBy Robert Lenzner | Forbes – 23 hrs ago

Capital gains are the key ingredient of income disparity in the US– and the force behind the winner takes all mantra of our economic system. If you want  even out earning power in the U.S, you have to raise the 15% capital gains tax.

Income and wealth disparities  become even more  absurd  if we look at the top 0.1% of the nation’s earners– rather than the more common 1%. The top 0.1%–  about 315,000 individuals out of 315 million–  are making about half of all capital gains on the sale of shares or property after 1 year; and these capital gains make up 60% of the income made by the Forbes 400.

It’s crystal clear that the Bush  tax reduction on capital gains anddividend income in 2003 was the cutting edge policy that has created the immense increase in  net worth of corporate executives, Wall St. professionals  and other entrepreneurs.

The reduction in the tax  from 20% to 15%  continued the step-by-step tradition  of cutting this tax to create more wealth.  It had first been reduced from 35% in 1978 at a time of stock market and economic stagnation  to 28% .  Again 1981, at the start of the Reagan era, it was reduced again  to 20%– raised back to 28% in 1987, on the eve of the October 19 232% crash in the market. In 1997 Clinton agreed to reduce it back to 20%, which move was an inducement for the explosion of hedge funds and private equity firms– the most “rapidly rising cohort within the top 1 per cent.”

Make no mistake; the battle that is to be fought over  the coming attempt to reverse this reduction in capital gains  will be bloody and intense. The facts are clear according to the Congressional Budget Office  more than 80%  of the increase in income inequality was the result of an increase in the share of household income from capital gains. In fact, you can go so far as to claim that “Capital Gains income is the most unevenly distributed– and volatile– source of household  income,” according to Laura D’Andrea Tyson,  University of California  business professor and former chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton.

No wonder the super wealthy plutocrats  obtained the largest share of national income– 25% of the nation’s wealth- greater than any other  industrial nation in the  the period of 1979 to 2005. Make no mistake; after unemployment– this disparity between the 1%– 3 million– or the 0.1%– the 300,000– and the other  312 million citizens of the U.S. has become the major theme of the Occupy Wall Streetmovement– and an important national debate.

I commend you to the late Justice Louis Brandeis warning to the nation that ” We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the  hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” We have to make up our minds to restore a higher, fairer  capital gains tax to the wealthiest investor class– or ultimately face increased social unrest.