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The richest Americans have surpassed a wealth milestone

The disproportionate amount of money controlled by the top 1 percent has reached a historic high


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Matthew Rozsa
September 28, 2017 12:47PM (UTC)

Even as President Donald Trump pushes for sweeping tax reform that would primarily benefit the rich, the wealthy own a greater share of America's money than ever before.

Roughly 38 percent of America's wealth is controlled by the top 1 percent of earners, according to a report by the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finance. Although Americans throughout the various income brackets made gains between 2013 and 2016, the primary beneficiaries were the so-called "1 percent," thanks mainly to their investments in the stock market and asset values.

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By contrast, the percentage of wealth held by the bottom 90 percent of Americans fell to 22.8 percent in 2016. It had been as high as 33.2 percent, less than 30 years earlier, in 1989.

Despite the disproportionate wealth being concentrated in the hands of a privileged few, President Donald Trump is pushing for a sweeping tax reform plan that would primarily benefit the rich.

"Our framework includes our explicit commitment that tax reform will protect low-income and middle-income households," Trump told an audience in Indiana. "Not the wealthy and well-connected. They can call me all they want; I’m doing the right thing."

As Heather Long of The Washington Post pointed out, however:

The wealthy get a tax cut. They will pay only 35 percent on their income taxes (down from 39.6 percent). At the moment, this rate applies to any income above about $418,000.

Although the details of Trump's current tax plan remain nebulous, he has consistently supported abolishing the estate tax and lowering the business tax rate, both of which will disproportionately help the wealthy.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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