Adjusted for inflation, a million dollars isn't what it was a century or even a decade ago. So sure, at some point the Congress was bound to have a majority of millionaires. Yet, in a country where the 2012 median household income was $51,017 - and fell between 2011 and 2012 - there is something truly perverse about not only the rising inequality between the incomes and wealth of the masses and the elites who govern them, but the rising political inequality that follows.
Rich individuals and their families have as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues, according to research published Sunday by the Tax Justice Network. The research estimates that since the 1970s, the richest citizens of 139 countries amassed $7.3 to $9.3 trillion of "unrecorded offshore wealth" by 2010.
I recently met Edward Conard on 57th Street and Madison Avenue, just outside his office at Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he helped build into a multibillion-dollar business by buying, fixing up and selling off companies at a profit. Unlike his former colleagues, Conard wants to have an open conversation about wealth. He has spent the last four years writing a book that he hopes will forever change the way we view the superrich's role in our society. "Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong," to be published in hardcover next month by Portfolio, aggressively argues that the enormous and growing income inequality in the United States is not a sign that the system is rigged. On the contrary, Conard writes, it is a sign that our economy is working. And if we had a little more of it, then everyone, particularly the 99 percent, would be better off. This could be the most hated book of the year.
At the risk of repeating myself, here s what rich folks do when they get richer: they invest. A lot of those investments are overseas, thanks to the anti-American business policies of the last four administrations. Don t think so? Check the tag on that T-shirt or gimme cap you re wearing.
His name is Jeremy Grantham, a British investor who manages a hedge fund worth more than $100 billion, and he had this to say; It gets worse, for what capitalism has always had is money with which to try to buy influence. Today s version of U.S. capitalism has died and gone to heaven on this issue. A company is now free to spend money to influence political outcomes and need tell no one, least of all its own shareholders, the technical owners.
The gap between the one percent and the 0.1 percent could have serious political consequences. Even in the United States, there are just 412 billionaires, and 134,888 taxpayers fall in the 0.1 percent. The 1 percent is bigger, containing 749,375 taxpayers. With an annual income of $486,395, the 1 percent is also not that far away from the 7.5 million taxpayers who occupy the wider 10 percent and earn an average $128,560. These people at the bottom of the top income distribution are financially essential to the country and politically vital to those at the very top. If the super-elite loses their loyalty, it could become very isolated indeed.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt says that people in Silicon Valley don't talk about the concerns of the 99% because a lot of them are immune to those concerns. He told Brad Stone at BusinessWeek, "Occupy Wall Street isn't really something that comes up in daily discussion, because their issues are not our daily reality."
It seems America s bankers are tired of all the abuse. They ve decided to speak out. True, they re doing it from behind the ropeline, in front of friendly crowds at industry conferences and country clubs, meaning they don t have to look the rest of America in the eye when they call us all imbeciles and complain that they shouldn t have to apologize for being so successful.
Dimon, 55, whose 2010 compensation was $23 million, joined billionaires including hedge-fund manager John Paulson and Home Depot Inc. co-founder Bernard Marcus in using speeches, open letters and television appearances to defend themselves and the richest 1 percent of the population targeted by Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. If successful businesspeople don't go public to share their stories and talk about their troubles, "they deserve what they're going to get," said Marcus, 82, a founding member of Job Creators Alliance, a Dallas-based nonprofit that develops talking points and op-ed pieces aimed at "shaping the national agenda," according to the group's website. He said he isn't worried that speaking out might make him a target of protesters.
Flush times are back for Hawaiian Telcom, the state's largest telecommunications company. So much so that Chief Executive Eric Yeaman increased his annual pay by more by 400 percent, to $6.72 million, late last year. But big profits at the top have not stopped the company from taking a page out of the Verizon playbook, trying to squeeze its employees for more and more givebacks. And on Nov. 10, Hawaiian Telcom workers said 'enough is enough,' staging a two-day walkout to protest Yeaman's demands for substantial cutbacks to health and retirement benefits
Six in ten Americans believe Congress should raise taxes on Americans earning more than $1 million per year, according to a new CBS News poll, while only 35 percent oppose such an increase.
He is a billionaire. He is responsible for starting, or contributing to getting many corporations off the ground. If anyone knows about job creation and who creates them, it s him. His name is Nick Hanauer, and it is his belief that tax cuts to the rich does not create jobs. And I agree with him 1000%!
It is a tenet of American economic beliefs, and an article of faith for Republicans that is seldom contested by Democrats: If taxes are raised on the rich, job creation will stop. Trouble is, sometimes the things that we know to be true are dead wrong. For the larger part of human history, for example, people were sure that the sun circles the Earth and that we are at the center of the universe. It doesn't, and we aren't. The conventional wisdom that the rich and businesses are our nation's "job creators" is every bit as false.
Our vote on the 1% has been vigorous since it started last week, with thousands of people rating nominees representing Wall Street, dirty energy, war profiteering, and more. We re going to make videos exposing the ones our audience thinks are doing the most to exploit the 99% - and so far, the most unpopular of the bunch are media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the democracy-crushing Koch Brothers.
A new study shows about half the lawmakers in Congress are millionaires, and that their net worth has risen steadily since 2008 despite the financial crash. The analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics found that 250 members of Congress have an estimated net worth of at least $1 million. Though some members of Congress have tried to cozy up to the Occupy Wall Street protests and their message of representing 99 percent of America, assets of more than $1 million would easily put those lawmakers in the top 1 percent.
John Paulson, the hedge-fund trader who famously made billions betting on the collapse of the housing market, was threatened by the demonstrators with a march on his Upper East Side home in New York last month. Paulson responded by putting out a press release that described his $28 billion, 120-person fund as an exemplar of the American Dream: "Instead of vilifying our most successful businesses, we should be supporting them and encouraging them to remain in New York City."
Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, millionaires who want the government to tax them more, met with foremost anti-tax guru Grover Norquist in Washington late Wednesday afternoon. Not surprisingly, they couldn't find common ground -- and ended up debating the state of Somalia. Patriotic Millionaires, a group of 200-plus people making more than $1 million per year (including actress Edie Falco and economist Nouriel Roubini, among others), believe that America has been good to them and that it is their duty to give back.
High earners feel that they are closer to the 'squeezed middle' than the 'super rich', says new research from Ipsos MORI for the High Pay Commission. This qualitative study investigated the views of some in the top 1% of UK earners, through an online focus group and five in-depth interviews which took place in June 2011.
A new poll indicates that a sizable minority of American millionaires support the Occupy Wall Street protests. According to the Spectrem Group, 35 percent of surveyed American millionaires -- those with investments of $1 million or more -- agree with the statement "protesters are making a good and valid point."
Reporting from Washington While members of the so-called 99% take part in Occupy Wall Street protests, a new website lets some of the wealthy 1% declare their support for the movement. The site, called "We are the 1 percent. We stand with the 99 percent," lets people post photos pronouncing their solidarity with the Occupy protesters in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere.
Members of Congress had a collective net worth of more than $2 billion in 2010, a nearly 25 percent increase over the 2008 total, according to a Roll Call analysis of Members' financial disclosure forms.
Who's using their wealth to exploit the 99%? You tell us. Start voting by rating any of the nominees below on a scale of "ho-hum" to "pure evil." Then you ll be taken through the list of nominees, person by person, to rate each one. Our job will be to make a series of videos exposing the ones you rate as the worst. So go ahead. Take your democracy back.
Occupy Wall Street s slogan "We are the 99%" is derived from the idea that they represent the difference in wealth that separates the top 1% and every other American citizen. The top 1% of Americans is defined as anyone who has an annual household income greater than $593,000. So why are multi-millionaire celebrities showing up to offer their support and grab attention?
There's considerable confusion circulating over who is in the top 1% in the United States, with a constant barrage of numbers that seem to shift depending on source, agenda, and timing. These are often used as derails, and it s easy to derail with arguments about how to define the top 1% in the United States, because there are a number of different ways to look at it, all of which are valid.
United under the banner "We are the 1 percent: We stand with the 99 percent," a band of entrepreneurs, trust fund babies, professionals and inheritors has taken to the web to share their abhorrence of corporate greed and support for tax code changes that would see them pay a higher share of their considerable wealth.
In the mid-2000s, the thinking about finance evolved to believing it was a standalone phase in capitalist progression. Society - in particular the U.K. and U.S. - bought into the notion that the path of development was agriculture to industry to services to finance. And that explains a lot in terms of people's mindset. The name of the industry went from "the financial services" industry to "the finance industry." It lost sight of the fact that it services the real economy. You cannot simply exchange paper.
Wouldn t it be ironic if Occupy Wall Street the soi-disant 99% were being secretly funded by billionaire Davos Man George Soros, exemplar of the 1%? Well, no, it wouldn t, actually. As Noreen Malone points out, lots of the 1% have, like Soros, expressed sympathy with OWS, including Bill Clinton, Ben Bernanke, and at least one member of the Buffett family. And when you re sympathetic to a cause, and have lots of money, often you donate money to that cause.
Anti-Wall Street protesters say the rich are getting richer while average Americans suffer, but the group that started it all may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world's richest men.
Occupy Wall Street has focused national attention on the vast majority of Americans who have been left behind by the economic growth of the past few decades. But if OWS is the voice of the 99 percent, who exactly are the 1 percent?
The millionaires group was founded last year, to press for the end of a George W. Bush-era tax cut for people making more than $1 million a year. Made up of both Democrats and Republicans, the group includes only about 200 millionaires, in a country where an estimated 3.1 million people have wealth greater than $1 million.
In November, 2010 more than 100 of the country s most financially successful citizens came together to urge the President to let the Bush era tax cuts expire for people making more than $1 million a year. An outpouring of public support encouraged them to continue their fight. Here is some of the press from their efforts.
Warren Buffett has answered the Wall Street Journal's snarky remarks about his tax returns. Today in an interview with Fortune Magazine editor Carol Loomis, he challenged Rupert Murdoch to release his tax returns to the press.
After the economy slipped into recession in 2008, millions of Americans received unemployment benefits to make ends meet -- including almost 3,000 millionaires. According to U.S. Internal Revenue Service data, 2,840 households reporting at least $1 million in income on their tax returns that year also collected a total of $18.6 million in jobless aid.
Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, tells ABC Radio that he agrees with President Obama s position of taxing the rich. Don t tell the Republicans who have decided that rich people should never pay the same rate poorer Americans pay.
This year's list broke records in size (1,210 billionaires) and total net worth ($4.5 trillion). China doubled its number of 10-figure fortunes, and Moscow now has more billionaires than any other city. Mexico's Carlos Slim widened his lead at No.