This graphic for income growth over the last thirty or so years does a pretty good job explaining why taxes are going up for the wealthiest Americans. That orange line at the top isn’t me, it’s not my family and it’s probably not yours; it’s the wealthiest 5% of Americans. The next line is the wealthiest 20% of Americans.
The rest of us are headed in the other direction.
The next time you see an article about millionaires and billionaires wanting to pay $300,000 a pop for membership rights to a private island so that they can avoid taxes, remember this is the context. Our government’s “tyranny” is our only line of defense against CEOs making more money than ever before, especially in places like Michigan where wealthy conservatives are going are unions. That union exists to keep income growth at a competitive level; right to work is nothing more than the right to work for less. Of course, the most effective way to combat this would be the institution of a law saying that executives can’t be paid more than X times more than the lowest paid employee.
Here’s another way of looking at it.
Are CEOs doing 200 times the work of their workers? Those who speak against taxing the country’s very wealthy often use the argument that the wealthy accrue a lot of risk in investing their capital and that they should be rewarded for the risks they take.
But their workers take a lot of risks, too. They risk their health by taking on extra hours to get ahead at work. They risk getting into accidents or breaking down on the side of the road by putting off car repairs that they can’t afford. They risk their safety by living in an unsafe neighborhood because they can’t afford to live anywhere else. Workers making 1/200 that of their companies executives don’t have fewer risks; they have just as many with far more at stake.