The robbery of our country by a small elite has continued, unabated, for the past eight years. That may sound like a radical statement. But, it is simply a fact -- a fact reported today by that radical, left-wing publication, The Wall Street Journal:
In a new sign of increasing inequality in the U.S., the richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation's adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929, according to Internal Revenue Service data.
Meanwhile, the average tax rate of the wealthiest 1% fell to its lowest level in at least 18 years. The group's share of the tax burden has risen, though not as quickly as its share of income.
The figures are from the IRS's income-statistics division and were posted on the agency's Web site last week. The 2006 data are the most recent available.
As the wealthiest Americans' share of income has risen, so has their share of the income-tax burden. The group paid 39.9% of all income taxes in 2006, compared with 27.6% in 1988. In the most recently reported five years, however, the share of income reported by the very wealthy has risen faster than the group's share of income taxes.
In other words, they are stuffing more cash away, while their share of taxes has not kept pace.
So, let's get this straight:
While 47 million Americans have no health care and millions more have pathetic and expensive coverage....
While millions of Americans are staggering from personal debt because of health care costs, rising tuition, gas prices, elder care and a whole host of other basic needs (Americans carry $2.56 trillion in consumer debt, a rise of 22 percent in just eight years, according to the Federal Reserve Board, with the average household credit card debt up 15 percent in that period to $8,565; college debt has doubled since 1995)...
While wages have not kept pace with the ability to pay basic bills...
While real pensions have disappeared... (the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that only 21 percent of workers in the private sector have defined-benefit pensions. In 2005, only 55 percent of full-time and part-time private sector workers worked at firms that sponsored a retirement plan. Of those, only 45 percent participated in an employer-sponsored plan. This compares with a 60 percent employer sponsorship rate and 50 percent employee participation rate in 2000.)
While our infrastructure is falling apart and we will soon have a third-world infrastructure because government is being sucked dry by tax cuts for the rich (The Economist recently reported that, "In 2005 the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that $1.6 trillion was needed over five years to bring just the existing infrastructure into good repair. This does not account for future needs")...
While all this, and more, is happening, the rich have piled up even more money. This isn't necessarily news. But, the facts laid out in these stats are pretty startling.
And to that I ask, to paraphrase Joseph Welch, is there no sense of decency among the rich, and their enablers in the government and in politics and in the chattering classes who worship before the altar of market fundamentalism, a point at which they say "enough is enough. We have enough to last many lifetimes and other need to get the riches of our society"?
If the answer is no, then, this, my friends, means revolution.