Just in case you missed the lead story on the front page of yesterday’s New York Times, it reads, in part:

Richest Are Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind
By David Cay Johnston

. . . The people at the top of America’s money pyramid have so prospered in recent years that they have pulled far ahead of the rest of the population . . .

. . . Draw a line under the top 0.1 percent of income earners – the top one-thousandth. Above that line are about 145,000 taxpayers, each with at least $1.6 million in income and often much more.

The average income for the top 0.1 percent was $3 million in 2002, the latest year for which averages are available. That number is two and a half times the $1.2 million, adjusted for inflation, that group reported in 1980. No other income group rose nearly as fast.

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. . . .

☞ Faced with this situation, the Republican leadership has made it its top priority to give the hyper-rich tax cuts. They cut the top rate on dividends by 62% . . . from a rate of 39.6% to just 15%. They have the top rate on estates falling from 55% to zero in a few years – and hope to keep it there.

Meanwhile, as a nation we fall $2 billion further into debt each day – $700 billion a year (not the $400 billion that the White House claims and the press dutifully repeats) – and become increasingly dependent on the Chinese and Japanese.

But at least we got Bin Laden.


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