|10% of Americans control 70% of America's wealth, and by extension resources.|
In America, possibly more than in any other country, we share the belief that a good idea and hard work can lead to success beyond anyone's dreams. We've seen it happen over and over again. Bill Gates is a wonderful and inspiring example. He took a good idea, ran with it, became filthy rich and changed the world for the better in the process. We all want the ability to do what he did. We all have the right to do what he did. The right to become successful might not be in the Bill of Rights but it might as well be.
We all know that not everyone will become wildly successful. Some will make it and some will fail, but we all firmly believe that we deserve a fair shake at the money tree. Unfortunately, over the last thirty years a corporate, de facto sort of aristocracy has developed that not only want to bring in insane salaries but believe they are entitled to them. We were all outraged at the CEO's pulling in ungodly sums of money despite the fact that their mismanagement brought America's economy to it's knees. Yet we did nothing about it.
There was a lot of bitching and whining about the problem but there was not any public outcry to actually do something about it. In fact, many even fought to ensure that income disparity grows this year by supporting the political party whose platform declared war on the middle class when it unleashed Reaganomics on the world. Somehow putting the interests of the rich ahead of the interests of everyone else became political priority number one in America. What is even more incredible is that so many people support it.
From 1945-1973, one of the greatest periods of economic growth by a country in world history, all income over $400,000 a year was taxed at a rate of between 70% and 91%. Reagan and George W. Bush dropped that rate down to it's current level of 35%. Why do people wonder why we have a huge deficit when taxes on the wealthy have been cut by more than half over the last thirty years? We don't need to slash government, we need to restore a sane tax policy.
We live in a time where the net worth of 400 Americans is equal to the net worth of half of all Americans. Bloody revolutions have been waged for numbers that weren't as bad as that. At a time when 99% of us have had to make sacrifices because of hard times why hasn't that top 1% been asked to make the same contribution?
People will write me off by arguing that I'm simply declaring class warfare. I've got news for you, class warfare was declared on us 30 years ago. It's about time we started fighting back.
UPDATE: Just to clarify, in America we use a marginal tax rate system. I won't go into exactly what that means because it's complicated and others could explain it better than I. What it means in practice is that the first $75,000 dollars everyone makes gets taxed at the same rate. You can make a million dollars or exactly $75,000 dollars and that first chunk of money will be taxed exactly the same. I think there are 5 different brackets right now and they all have their certain cut-off point.
In the example of the 1945 rate that person would not net only $120,000 dollars because that first $400,000 dollars would not be taxed at 70% but at the rate everyone else is taxed at up until that point. The benefit of having a higher bracket is that if you are pulling in a salary of over $400,000 dollars a year you are doing it on the backs of the people working for you and drives wages down in America as a whole. Yes, you could still make 30 million dollars a year if you really want to but you would be taxed hard on it. It's a way to bring the income gap to manageable levels and also encourages reinvestment in the company as opposed to going to the salary for the CEO.
Image taken from here: http://extremeinequality.org/?page_id=8