Thursday, October 6, 2011

99 Facts about the Top 1%

Note: After each group of facts is a link to their source.

1. The Top 1 Percent of Americans owns 40 percent of the nation’s wealth.

2. The Top 1 Percent of Americans take home 24 percent of national income.

3. The Top 1 Percent of Americans own half of the country’s stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

4. The Top 1 Percent of Americans have only 5 percent of the nation’s personal debt.

5. The Top 1 Percent are taking in more of the nation’s income than at any other time since the 1920s.

6. The Top 1 Percent of Americans have an average income of $1.5 million.


7. 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.


8. The top 1 percent incomes captured half of the overall economic growth over the period 1993-2007.


9. Lowering tax rates on capital gains, which is how the rich receive a large portion of their income, has given the wealthiest Americans close to a free ride.

10. Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office.

11. By and large, the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also come from the top 1 percent.

12. The top 1 percent rarely serve in the military—the reality is that the “all-volunteer” army does not pay enough to attract their sons and daughters, and patriotism goes only so far. Plus, the wealthiest class feels no pinch from higher taxes when the nation goes to war: borrowed money will pay for all that.


13. The US tax code is designed to benefit the rich. ”The richest 20% of families — those who make more than $115,000 a year — capture 71% of the benefits from the housing subsidies, as well as 80% of the benefits of retirement-savings deductions, according to the Tax Policy Center. Much of benefit accrues to the top 1% or top 0.1%.””


14. The top 1 percent of households in the United States received 8.9 percent of all pre-tax income in 1976. In 2008, the top 1 percent share had more than doubled to 21.0 percent.

15. In 2009, CEOs of major U.S. corporations averaged 263 times the average compensation of American workers.

16. The total inflation-adjusted net worth of America’s 400 richest individuals rose from $507 billion in 1995 to $1.37 trillion in 2010.

17. The top 1 percent of U.S. households owned 35.6 percent of the nation’s private wealth in 2009—more than the combined wealth of the bottom 90 percent.

18. The top 1 percent own 38.2 percent of all stock market wealth.

19. In 2000, the richest 1 percent of the world’s adult population, individuals worth at least $514,512, owned 39.9 percent of the world’s household wealth, a total greater than the wealth of the world’s poorest 95 percent, those adults worth under $150,145 who hold, together, just 29.4 percent of the world’s wealth.

20. The richest 0.5 percent of global adults hold well over a third of the world’s wealth.

21. The world’s 1,210 current billionaires, Forbes reported in March 2011, hold a combined wealth that equals over half the total wealth of the 3.01 billion adults around the world who, according to Credit Suisse, hold under $10,000 in net worth.


22. 1,400 millionaires paid no income taxes in 2009.

23. Due to a variety of breaks and loopholes, many U.S. corporations don't pay the top marginal rate. Over one-fourth of the U.S. corporations comprising the S&P 500 paid a corporate tax rate below 20 percent over the last half-decade


24. Some investment managers earn billions from their daily labors but are allowed to classify their income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate.

25. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

26. The federal tax bill of Warren Buffett, the second-richest person in the world and third-richest in the US, was only 17.4 percent of his taxable income — and a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in his office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

27. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

28. In 1992, the 400 Americans reporting the largest income paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent. In 2008, the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

29. 88 of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains.

30. 8,274 households made $10 million or more in 2009.


31.  Advertising Age has declared that "mass affluence is over." Nearly half of consumer spending today is done by the richest 10 percent of households, and the richest of these richies are deemed to be the most desirable of consumers.


32. In the 1960s, women were nearly half of America’s richest 0.01 percent. Their share has dropped to one third. The prime reason? With the explosion of pay at the top of the corporate ladder, executives can now “work” their way into the ranks of America’s richest. In the process, points out the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality, “the older road of direct inheritance has accordingly been superseded.” Adds the Center: “Until women crack the uppermost echelons of the labor market, we can therefore expect gender inequality in wealth to persist.”


33. SAT testing favors the rich: Bob Schaeffer, the public education director for Fairtest, says that "the SAT is a pretty accurate gauge of accumulated advantage." He points out that richer kids, assuming their parents were rich all along, have advantages from before birth, starting with better prenatal care right up through school, where they get better teachers and up-to-date textbooks and, finally, "when they are ready to take the SAT, their parents can buy them 100+ points on the test by spending $1,000 or more for test coaching."


34. For the rich, most income does not come from "working": in 2008, only 19% of the income reported by the 13,480 individuals or families making over $10 million came from wages and salaries.

35. The lower half of the top 1% has far less than those in the top half; in fact, both wealth and income are super-concentrated in the top 0.1%, which is one in a thousand.

36. Average Americans have been hit much harder by the Great Recession than wealthy Americans. Edward Wolff, the economist, concludes that there has been an "astounding" 36.1% drop in the wealth (marketable assets) of the median household since the peak of the housing bubble in 2007. By contrast, the wealth of the top 1% of households dropped by just 11.1%. So as of April 2010, it looks like the wealth distribution is even more unequal than it was in 2007.

37. The top 1% of income earners actually pay a smaller percentage of their incomes to taxes than the 9% just below them.

38. As of 2007, the top 1% of households owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned 85%.

39. The top one percent of households have 38.3% of all privately held stock.

40. The top one percent of households have 60.6% of all financial securities.

41. The top one percent of households have 62.4% of all business equity.

42. Only 1.6% of Americans receive $100,000 or more in inheritance. 91.9% receive nothing.

43. The attempt by ultra-conservatives to eliminate inheritance taxes -- which they call "death taxes" for P.R. reasons -- would take a huge bite out of government revenues (an estimated $1 trillion between 2012 and 2022) for the benefit of the heirs of the mere 0.6% of Americans whose death would lead to the payment of any estate taxes whatsoever.

44. 18 super-rich families (mostly Republican financial donors, but a few who support Democrats) provide activists with most of the money for the effort to eliminate inheritance taxes.

44. The rich have another way to avoid inheritance taxes forever. After Congress passed a reform in 1986 making it impossible for a "trust" to skip a generation before paying inheritance taxes, bankers convinced legislatures in many states to eliminate their "rules against perpetuities," which means that trust funds set up in those states can exist in perpetuity, thereby allowing the trust funds to own new businesses, houses, and much else for descendants of rich people, and even to allow the beneficiaries to avoid payments to creditors when in personal debt or sued for causing accidents and injuries. About $100 billion in trust funds has flowed into those states so far.

45. Of all the new financial wealth created by the American economy between 1983 and 2004, fully 42% of it went to the top 1%. The bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth.

46. The only industrialized democracy with a higher concentration of wealth in the top 10% than the United States is Switzerland.
47. Details on those who earn millions of dollars each year are very hard to come by, because they can stash a large part of their wealth in off-shore tax havens in the Caribbean and little countries in Europe, starting with Switzerland. And there are many loopholes and gimmicks they can use.

48. 20% of the tax deductions taken for dependent children actually go to people earning over $100,000 a year.

49. The ratio of CEO pay to factory worker pay rose from 42:1 in 1960 to as high as 531:1 in 2000, at the height of the stock market bubble, when CEOs were cashing in big stock options. It was at 411:1 in 2005 and 344:1 in 2007. The same ratio is about 25:1 in Europe.

50. From 1990 to 2005, CEOs' pay increased almost 300% (adjusted for inflation), while production workers gained a scant 4.3%.

51. The median compensation for CEO's in all industries as of early 2010 is $3.9 million; it's $10.6 million for the companies listed in Standard and Poor's 500, and $19.8 million for the companies listed in the Dow-Jones Industrial Average. Since the median worker's pay is about $36,000, then you can quickly calculate that CEOs in general make 100 times as much as the workers, that CEO's of S&P 500 firms make almost 300 times as much, and that CEOs at the Dow-Jones companies make 550 times as much.

52. The claim that CEOs deserve ever higher salaries because they "create wealth," is a "joke" according to retired CEO of DuPont, Edgar S. Woolard, Jr.


53. There are 1,210 billionaires in the world.

54. The wealthiest person in the world: Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu and family are worth $74 billion dollars.

55. Nigeria's Aliko Dangote with a net worth of $13.8 billion is the richest Black person in the world.

56. The other Black billionaires on the 2011 list are South African gold magnate Patrice Motsepe with $3.3 billion, American Oprah Winfrey at $2.7 billion and Nigeria's Mike Adenuga with $2 billion.


57. Bill Gates, the richest American and second richest person, is worth 56 billion.

58. Warren Buffett, the second-richest American and third richest person (worth 50 billion) said, “There’s class warfare, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

59. The top 10 billionaires are from Mexico, the USA, France, India, Spain, Brazil, and Yemen.

60. Christy Walton, worth 26.5 billion, is the richest woman in the world, the tenth richest person in the world, and the fourth richest American.


61. The ten richest Americans include four Waltons, Christy, Jim, Alice, and S. Robert. Together, they’re worth 83.2 billion dollars.


62. In a study of members of the Forbes 400 "richest" list, the world's wealthiest individuals rated their satisfaction at exactly the same level as did the Inuit people of northern Greenland and the Masai of Kenya, who have no electricity or running water.


63. The richest Republican member of Congress is Rep. Michael McCaul, R-TX, worth $294.21 million.

64. The richest Democrat member of Congress is Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), worth $193 million.


65. The average 2008 income for the bottom 90 percent of America’s households, after adjusting for inflation, amounted to about $900 less the bottom 90 percent average income in 1979. The average income for the top 1 percent ended 2008 “over $700,000 above its 1979 level.”


66. The world’s richest 1 percent, adults with at least $588,000 to call their own, hold 43 percent of the world’s wealth


67. The rich donate less than the poor: The poorest fifth of America's households contributed an average of 4.3 percent of their incomes to charitable organizations in 2007. The richest fifth gave at less than half that rate, 2.1 percent.


68. America’s top 400 held a combined $1.53 trillion in personal wealth, a total 12 percent up from last year.


69. 38 members of the Forbes 400 reside in Manhattan.

70. Warren Buffett--with a net worth of $36 billion--lives in the same home in Omaha, Nebr., that he bought in 1958 for $31,500. He also keeps a second home in Laguna Beach, Calif., which is said to be worth $4 million.

71. Bill Gates' Medina, Wash., home is one of the largest privately-owned single-family homes in the country, encompassing more than 66,000 square feet. The estate consumed 4.7 million gallons of water in 2000, according to The Seattle Times, and includes such lavish features as the latest technology, millions of dollars worth of art, and a 1,500-square-foot, 20-seat Art Deco theater.

72. Oprah Winfrey paid $50 million for a Montecito (Southern California) home that wasn't even for sale.

73. Steven Spielberg's summer home in the Hamptons is estimated to be worth $25 million.


74. Mumbai has the 27-story skyscraper home of energy tycoon Mukesh Ambani. At $1 billion it is the world's most expensive home.


75. Moscow is the city with the most billionaire residents in the world.

The Russian capital boasts 79 billionaires. The combined fortunes of Moscow's billionaire population top $375 billion.

76. No. 2 is New York with 59 billionaires. Their collective net worth is $221 billion.

77. No. 3 is London with 41. Total combined wealth: $164.3 billion.

78. No. 4 is Hong Kong. Number of Billionaires: 40. Total combined wealth: $176.8 billion.

79. No. 5 is Istanbul. Number of Billionaires: 36. Total combined wealth: $60.5 billion.


80. The USA has the most billionaires: 412.

81. Second in number, China: 115 billionaires.

82. Third, Russia: 101 billionaires.

83. Fourth, India: 55 billionaires.

84. Fifth, Germany: 52 billionaires.

85. Sixth, Turkey: 38 billionaires.

86. Seventh, Hong Kong: 36 billionaires.

87. Eighth, United Kingdom: 33 billionaires.

88. Ninth, Brazil: 30 billionaires.

89. Tenth, Japan: 26 billionaires.

90. Africa has 14 billionaires.

91. Asia has 258 billionaires.

92. Europe has 266 billionaires.

93. North America has 436 billionaires.

94. Australia and New Zealand together have 14 billionaires.

95. Latin America has 51 billionaires.


96. The combined wealth of the 400 richest Americans has gone up by 8 percent in past year.

97. California is the US state with the most billionaires: 94.

98. The average billionaire is an old white man—but there are exceptions
Gawker has done a demographic analysis of the list and found 10 Asian-Americans in the top 400, with four tracing their roots back to India; three openly gay billionaires; 34 women (Wal-Mart heiress Christy Walton is No. 4, with $24 billion); and 30 Jews in the top 100 (Bloomberg being the wealthiest).

99. The youngest billionaire is Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz (No. 290), who "was born eight days after his former business partner."

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