In a New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof writes that in his work he often travels to the so-called banana republics, “notorious for their inequality. In some of these plutocracies, the richest 1 percent of the population gobbles up 20 percent of the national pie.” Now he doesn’t have to leave home.
The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.
Kristof says this about tax cuts: “The richest 0.1 percent of taxpayers would get a tax cut of $61,000 from President Obama. They would get $370,000 from Republicans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. And that provides only a modest economic stimulus, because the rich are less likely to spend their tax savings.”
He wonders that with the existing economy, it might be better to use the money on jobs programs.
Here’s more at Slate: “The United States of Inequality.”