There is NO excuse whatsoever for any one individual or four or five to have more wealth than the bottom 100,000,000 people in this country. Are you listening, Koch brothers or the Walton brood?
The richest quintile of Americans owns 93% of non-home wealth. For Americans with incomes over $10 million, nearly half of their income comes from capital gains and dividends, on most of which they pay only a 15% tax. From 2002 to 2007, two-thirds of all income went to the richest 1%. Then, in the first year after the recession, a startling 93% of all new income went to the richest 1%.
Massive wealth holdings have accumulated for the richest Americans not only because of their appropriation of income, but also because of their manipulation of the tax code. The 15% capital gains tax is their proudest accomplishment. Other ploys include carried interest, performance-related pay, stock options, and deferred compensation.
The imaginary 'work' of financial gain gets taxed at a much lower rate than real work. Through the years, as the rich have fattened up on stocks and other financial assets, the stock market has grown three times faster than the GDP. Yet American workers have not benefited from their own productivity. Their wages have flatlined while the fruits of their labor have gone to investors.
Unearned income should be taxed at a higher rate than wages and salaries. That it isn't is the result of the elites having bought off the powers-that-be in Washington.