Welfare for the Wealthiest

I hope it’s no secret that the Bush Administration has consistently and routinely provided large tax cuts and handouts to those who need it least.  In fact, more progressive individuals such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have publicly criticized these moves, stating that no one even asked for the tax breaks.  Yet these policies continue, as America seems be losing its middle class.  MSN Money reports on the latest statistics in Ranks of the ultrawealthy soar:

New IRS data show a 62% increase in the number of people with a net worth of $20 million or more between 1997 and 2004. Separate data list the ‘Fortunate 400.’

One of the most exclusive clubs in the U.S. has picked up more members.

About 47,000 people had a net worth of $20 million or more in 2004, the latest year for which data are available, according to new estimates by the Internal Revenue Service. While that was up only slightly from 46,000 in 2001, it was up 62% from 29,000 in 1998.

The IRS also reported increases in the number of people with a net worth between $10 million and $20 million: 79,000 people qualified for this group in 2004, up from 77,000 in 2001 and 51,000 in 1998.

Another MSN Money article, Taxpayers give fat cats $20 billion looks at the rates of pay for America’s richest people:

At the expense of you and me, tax breaks help companies hand ever-bigger paychecks to CEOs. What are the presidential candidates doing about it? Almost nothing.

As our national debt reaches new heights, some elite wealthy taxpayers get a pass when it comes to footing their share of the bill:

Those lavishly paid CEOs in their corner offices.

Thanks to five tax breaks cooked up by their friends in Washington, D.C., top executives and their companies enjoy at least $20 billion a year in income-tax breaks that are unavailable to the rank and file, according to a new study from the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

The cost to you, me and ordinary workers around the country is easier to figure out. Every household filing a return pays about $192 extra in taxes to cover these breaks, by my calculation.

For a lot of Americans, that’s real money. But not for this elite group.

While we’re held footing the bill for these costs, it seems that everyone is much more focused on the price of a gallon of gas.  Never mind that we’ve spent trillions on attacking Iraq and that over a million people are dead.  Never mind that our deficit is staggering and the United States’ credit rating has dropped for the first time in history.  We’ve got to focus on the gas pumps as the nation’s biggest issue.

Perhaps part of the problem is that Americans, as a whole, truly respect greed and excess.  We tend to look up to CEOs that make tens of millions of dollars in official compensation each year.  We dream about purchasing our tenth house and owning a fleet of cards and personal airplanes.  With attitudes like that, perhaps it’s no surprise that greed has become a richly rewarding national pastime.  Of course, all of this clearly defies all research on the topic that shows that money just doesn’t buy happiness. 

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1 Comment

  1. George said,

    October 30, 2008 at 7:10 am

    Yes, money does not buy happiness, regret, that this is the main point – how much money you have …


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