Washington Post, The Richest 1 Percent Now Owns More of the Country’s Wealth Than at Any Time in the Past 50 Years:
The wealthiest 1 percent of American households own 40 percent of the country's wealth, according to a new paper by economist Edward N. Wolff [Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1962 to 2016: Has Middle Class Wealth Recovered?]. That share is higher than it has been at any point since at least 1962, according to Wolff's data, which comes from the federal Survey of Consumer Finances.
From 2013, the share of wealth owned by the 1 percent shot up by nearly three percentage points. Wealth owned by the bottom 90 percent, meanwhile, fell over the same period. Today, the top 1 percent of households own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. That gap, between the ultrawealthy and everyone else, has only become wider in the past several decades.
This kind of extreme inequality is bad for the economy. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which represents a number of the world's richest countries including the United States, estimates that inequality has knocked nearly five percentage points off the economic growth in those countries between 2000 and 2015.
In high-inequality countries, people from poor households typically have less access to quality education. This leads to “large amounts of wasted potential and lower social mobility,” which directly harms economic growth, according to the OECD.
If you were designing a tax plan to reduce the extreme inequality in the United States, you'd probably try to find ways to redistribute some of the wealth from the richest households to the poorest ones. But the Senate GOP tax plan does precisely the opposite of that, according to the CBO: In the short term the richest households get the biggest tax cuts, while longer term the taxes of the poorest households actually increase.
Estate tax? Cut. Income tax rate for millionaires? Cut (at least in the Senate bill). Corporate tax rate? Biggest rate cut ever.
In the long term that probably means more of the pie for the super-rich, and less of it for everyone else.
(Hat Tip: Ted Seto.)