Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Who The GOP/Media Really Serves (Hint: It's Probably Not You.)

The increasingly large divide between the rich and the rest of us -- and the fact that the rest of us are falling backwards, at best -- is probably the single most important factor in explaining a lot of key things about America, from our politics to our media to -- well, pretty much everything worth discussing. Especially when you remember that the media are either counted among the rich, or strongly identify with them in a sycophantic way. With that in mind, check out these facts and figures -- and consider why you won't see them on the evening news any time soon (remember, most folks don't read newspapers -- they get their news from TV and radio):

... The share of the nation's income earned by those in this uppermost category has more than doubled since 1980, to 7.4 percent in 2002. The share of income earned by the rest of the top 10 percent rose far less, and the share earned by the bottom 90 percent fell. [...] The Bush administration tax cuts stand to widen the gap between the hyper-rich and the rest of America. The merely rich, making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, will shoulder a disproportionate share of the tax burden. President Bush said during the third election debate last October that most of the tax cuts went to low- and middle-income Americans. In fact, most - 53 percent - will go to people with incomes in the top 10 percent over the first 15 years of the cuts, which began in 2001 and would have to be reauthorized in 2010. And more than 15 percent will go just to the top 0.1 percent, those 145,000 taxpayers. The Times set out to create a financial portrait of the very richest Americans, how their incomes have changed over the decades and how the tax cuts will affect them. It is no secret that the gap between the rich and the poor has grown, but the extent to which the richest are leaving everyone else behind is not widely known. The Treasury Department uses a computer model to examine the effects of tax cuts on various income groups but does not look in detail fine enough to differentiate among those within the top 1 percent. To determine those differences, The Times relied on a computer model based on the Treasury's. Experts at organizations representing a range of views, including the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and Citizens for Tax Justice, reviewed the projections and said they were reasonable, and the Treasury Department said through a spokesman that the model was reliable. The analysis also found the following: -- Under the Bush tax cuts, the 400 taxpayers with the highest incomes - a minimum of $87 million in 2000, the last year for which the government will release such data - now pay income, Medicare and Social Security taxes amounting to virtually the same percentage of their incomes as people making $50,000 to $75,000. -- Those earning more than $10 million a year now pay a lesser share of their income in these taxes than those making $100,000 to $200,000. -- The alternative minimum tax, created 36 years ago to make sure the very richest paid taxes, takes back a growing share of the tax cuts over time from the majority of families earning $75,000 to $1 million - thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars annually. Far fewer of the very wealthiest will be affected by this tax. The analysis examined only income reported on tax returns. The Treasury Department says that the very wealthiest find ways, legal and illegal, to shelter a lot of income from taxes. So the gap between the very richest and everyone else is almost certainly much larger.
And here's the kicker:
... From 1950 to 1970, for example, for every additional dollar earned by the bottom 90 percent, those in the top 0.01 percent earned an additional $162, according to the Times analysis. From 1990 to 2002, for every extra dollar earned by those in the bottom 90 percent, each taxpayer at the top brought in an extra $18,000.

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