The Land of the Billionaires

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Researchers with the Swiss bank Credit Suisse have just released their latest annual global wealth report. The United States, the bank informs us, currently sports over twice as many millionaires as the next four richest nations — the UK, Japan, France, and Germany — combined.

America has become, says Credit Suisse, the “land of fortunes,” a reality that actually poses both a huge problem and a huge opportunity.

The opportunity? America’s rich have become so rich that merely raising the overall tax rate on our top 0.1 percent just a few percentage points, the New York Times calculates, would raise $55 billion a year, well over “the estimated $47 billion cost of eliminating undergraduate tuition at all the country’s four-year public colleges and universities.”

The problem? Our rich have become so rich that they’re dominating our democracy as never before. Almost half the money so far raised for 2016 White House hopefuls has come from just 158 exceedingly wealthy families. Need we wonder why college students remain so indebted?

In this month’s Too Much, more on our top-heavy economic order — and some promising signs of new and innovative struggling against it.

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Reposted from Sam Pizzigati's newsletter Too Much.

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Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the online weekly on excess and inequality. He is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Last year, he played an active role on the team that generated The Nation magazine special issue on extreme inequality. That issue recently won the 2009 Hillman Prize for magazine journalism. Pizzigati’s latest book, Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives (Apex Press, 2004), won an “outstanding title” of the year ranking from the American Library Association’s Choice book review journal.

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