Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Society:  Among the Wealthiest One Percent, Many Variations

The top 1% of earners in a given year receives just under a fifth of the country's pretax income, about double their share 30 years ago. They pay just over a fourth of all federal taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center. In 2007, they accounted for about 30% of philanthropic giving, according to Federal Reserve data.
Of the 1 percenters interviewed for this article, almost all — conservatives and liberals alike — said the wealthy could and should shoulder more of the country's financial burden, and almost all said they viewed the current system as unfair. But they may prefer facing cuts to their own benefits like Social Security than paying more taxes. In one survey of wealthy Chicago families, almost twice as many respondents said they would cut government spending as those who said they would cut spending and raise revenue.
A higher proportion of 1 percenters (two in five) than 99 percenters (one in five) has inherited money, according to the Federal Reserve survey. The top earners got 10% of the inherited wealth in the country. Still, a majority of those earners reported no inheritance.
Many wealthy people have decried what they call class warfare. But that does not mean they think the system is not unjustly rigged in their favor. The investor who declined to be identified because he feared for his family said it was not fair that he paid a lower rate on his investment income than he would on a salary and asked why he should receive Social Security or Medicare.

For more, see Among the Wealthiest One Percent, Many Variations by Shaila Dewan and Robert Gebeloff, January 14, 2012 at NYTimes.com.

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