The first Gilded Age was a time in the late 19th-early 20th century. It was a time of huge ecnomic disparity. On the one end, you had masses of poor immigrants and farmers, huddled in tenement shacks, and ekeing out a living. Child labor, poor health — these were the earmarks ofOn the other end of the spectrum, you had huge "robber-barons" with incredible wealth owned such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Flagler, and J.P. Morgan.
Well, new figures have come out, and we're now living in a situation where the disparity between the wealthiest in the country vs the poorest in the country are even greater than the Gilded Age. Here's the chart that explains it all:
As of 2007, the weathiest top 0.01% in this country received 6% of the entire national income.
Look, I'm no socialist, but I think these people, whoever they are, can afford to pay higher taxes than people who make even, say, $100,000 per year. Seriously. If someone making $100,000 pays 36% in taxes, then someone making $10,000,000 a year can probably be put in a brand new uber-rich tax bracket of 40%, which will reduce the deficit, pay for health care reform, etc.*
I mean, as Charlie Sheen said, "How many yachts can you ski behind?"
* Remember, this isn't the burden you might think it is. Our tax rates are progressive and marginal. In other words, under my plan, a person making $10M a year will pay 36% in taxes on every dollar he earns above $100,000 but under $10M. Then, for every dollar above $10M, he pays 40%.