Capital gains are the key ingredient of income disparity in the US—and the force behind the winner takes all mantra of our economic system. If you want to even out earning power in the U.S, you have to raise the 15% capital gains tax.
Income and wealth disparities become even more absurd if we look at the top 0.1% of the nation’s earners—rather than the more common 1%. The top 0.1%—about 315,000 individuals out of 315 million—are making about half of all capital gains on the sale of shares or property after 1 year; and these capital gains make up 60% of the income made by the Forbes 400.
It’s crystal clear that the Bush tax reduction on capital gains and dividend income in 2003 was the cutting edge policy that has created the immense increase in net worth of corporate executives, Wall St. professionals and other entrepreneurs.
The reduction in the tax from 20% to 15% continued the step-by-step tradition of cutting this tax to create more wealth. It had first been reduced from 35% in 1978 at a time of stock market and economic stagnation to 28%. Again in 1981, at the start of the Reagan era, it was reduced again to 20%—raised back to 28% in 1987, on the eve of the October 19 232% crash in the market. In 1997 Clinton agreed to reduce it back to 20%, which move was an inducement for the explosion of hedge funds and private equity firms—the most “rapidly rising cohort within the top 1 per cent.”"
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