Make More than $100 K? Give Me My Money Back!


Did you notice in my last post that the income gap between rich and poor—or actually rich and everyone else—is at its highest point since the ominous year of 1928?

Yes, indeed. Total reported income in the United States increased by 9 percent in 2005, but average incomes for all but the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans were down by .6 percent.

So who got more money? Why, the top 1 percent, of course. Their incomes rose by 14 percent to an average of more than $1.1 million per household. Sweet! The top 10 percent—those who make more than $100,000—also lived off the fat of the rest of us. Nicely done, lads!

The New York Times reports:

[T]he top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980.

That sounds seriously messed up, right? Well, yeah, but it’s probably even worse for two reasons. First, the wealthiest Americans are the most likely to file late, so the data may be slightly skewed. Second—and this is my favorite—the IRS claims to “find” 99 percent of all wage income but only about 70 percent of business and investment income.

Maybe if they stopped wasting their time auditing the poor and starting auditing the rich—you know, the ones with big bucks to hide and tax advisors to tell them how to do it—they might find the untold billions of unpaid taxes on the 30 percent all profits and capital gains.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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