“The message for strivers is that if you want to be very, very rich, start out very rich,” is the wondrous conclusion Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Peter Coy has from delving into the details of the latest data on income growth in America. The richest 0.1 percent of the American population has rebuilt its share of wealth back to where it was in the Roaring Twenties. And the richest 0.01 percent’s share has grown even more rapidly, quadrupling since the eve of the Reagan Revolution.
As the following chart shows, via Saez and Zucman’s latest data, “top wealth has surged,” as they dispel any belief that inequality in wealth has grown less than income inequality – it hasn’t. Saez final words are perhaps the most worrisome for the richest of the rich (or not given their ability to afford the best lawyers, money-launderers, and politicians), “wealth-specific taxes become important tools to think about,” just as the IMF has suggested.
The bottom nine-tenths of the 1 Percent club have about the same slice of the national wealth pie that they had a generation ago. The gains have accrued almost exclusively to the top tenth of 1 Percenters. The richest 0.1 percent of the American population has rebuilt its share of wealth back to where it was in the Roaring Twenties. And the richest 0.01 percent’s share has grown even more rapidly, quadrupling since the eve of the Reagan Revolution.
As Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Peter Coy notes, these figures come out of a clever analysis by economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics, who is a visiting professor at Berkeley. The Internal Revenue Service asks about income, not wealth, which is the market value of real estate, stocks, bonds, and other assets. Saez and Zucman were able to deduce wealth by exploiting IRS data going back to when the federal income tax was instituted in 1913.