For the past three years, the U.S. has enjoyed an almost unprecedented boom in productivity. Yet these gains have been distributed unevenly. Household net worth has reached an all-time high, surpassing even the bubble-influenced peak of early 2000. That has mainly benefited the top half of families, who own virtually all of the country’s assets such as stocks, bonds, and homes.
The top 1% of families, as measured by net worth, receive about 15% of income but own 30% of the nation’s assets — including stocks and bonds, homes, and closely held businesses. That’s according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. The top 10% of families, as measured by net wealth, own 65% of assets, and the top 50% own a stunning 95% of assets. That means the gains from rising wealth have effectively left out half the population.
See also: Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich – and Cheat Everybody Else and more than 60% of U.S. corporations didn’t pay any federal taxes for 1996 through 2000, years when the economy boomed and corporate profits soared, the investigative arm of Congress reported.
This despite the fact that “This is the first time we’ve ever had a case where two years into a recovery, corporate profits got a larger share of the growth of national income than labor did. Normally labor gets about 65 percent and corporate profits about 15 to 18 percent. This time profits got 41 percent and labor [meaning all forms of employee compensation, including wages, benefits, salaries and the percentage of payroll taxes paid by employers] got 38 percent.”