Just 10% of Americans own 91 percent of the nation's stocks and mutual funds, according to economist Edward Wolff (Table
7). Most of the remainder is held by a "middle class" that is steadily
losing ground. The bottom 60% is almost entirely shut out (Table 2).
Stock owners, some of whom made billions of dollars last year,
can defer their income taxes indefinitely, pay a reduced capital gains
tax when they decide to cash in, or pass on the capital gainstax-free to their heirs.
money is all a game to the super-rich -- redistribution toward the top,
trickle-down delusions, tax avoidance, and even, for some of them,
dabbling in criminal activities. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) once said,
"It's really American to avoid paying taxes, legally...It's a game we
play...I see nothing wrong with playing the game because we set it up to
be a game."
$2 of every $5 owned today was created in the last five years, most of it from the financial markets, and almost all of it going to the richest 10%.
Unfathomably, the richest 1% took anywhere from 95 percent to 116 percent of
the new income gains after the recession. Yes, 116 percent, because
almost everyone else went backwards. Median wealth dropped about 40 percent from 2007 to 2013.