From the AmpedStatus Report:
The graph below, based on data from the Tax Policy Center, shows how much income is earned by a household at any given percentile in income distribution:
The highest bracket for annual income is $50 million or more. Only 74 Americans are in this elite group. The average income within this category was $91.2 million  in 2008. As astonishing as that is, in 2009 they averaged $518.8 million  each, or about $10 million per week. This means, in the depths of the recession, the richest 74 Americans increased their income by more than 5 times within this one year.
“Unlike those in the lower half of the top 1%, those in the top half and, particularly, top 0.1%, can often borrow for almost nothing, keep profits and production overseas, hold personal assets in tax havens, ride out down markets and economies, and influence legislation in the US. They have access to the very best in accounting firms, tax and other attorneys, numerous consultants, private wealth managers, a network of other wealthy and powerful friends, lucrative business opportunities, and many other benefits. Folks in the top 0.1% come from many backgrounds but it’s infrequent to meet one whose wealth wasn’t acquired through direct or indirect participation in the financial and banking industries…. Most of the serious economic damage the US is struggling with today was done by the top 0.1% and they benefited greatly from it…. For example, in Q1 of 2011, America’s top corporations reported 31% profit growth and a 31% reduction in taxes, the latter due to profit outsourcing to low tax rate countries…. The year 2010 was a record year for compensation on Wall Street, while corporate CEO compensation rose by over 30%.…
In 2010 a dozen major companies, including GE, Verizon, Boeing, Wells Fargo, and Fed Ex paid US tax rates between -0.7% and -9.2%. Production, employment, profits, and taxes have all been outsourced….
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is this: A highly complex and largely discrete set of laws and exemptions from laws has been put in place by those in the uppermost reaches of
the US financial system. It allows them to protect and increase their wealth and significantly affect the US political and legislative processes.
They have real power and real wealth. Ordinary citizens in the bottom 99.9% are largely not aware of these systems, do not understand how they work, are unlikely to participate in them,
and have little likelihood of entering the top 0.5%, much less the top 0.1%….
… the American dream of striking it rich is merely a well-marketed fantasy that keeps the bottom 99.5% hoping for better and prevents social and political instability. The
odds of getting into that top 0.5% are very slim and the door is kept firmly shut by those within it.”
“To get into the top economic 0.01% (one-hundredth of one percent) of the population, you have to have a household income of over $27 million  per year.
If you look at some of the central players who caused this economic crisis, you will see that they are among this Economic Elite group.”
Which of course somehow fits to this picture:
Which reminds me of Karl Marx:
At some point capitalism will destroy itself, because you can’t keep shifting income from labor to capital without not having excess-capacity and a lack of aggregate demand.
- Who Rules America? (anationbeguiled.wordpress.com)
- Who Rules America: An Investment Manager’s View on the Top 1% (sociology.ucsc.edu)