Make the Tax Cuts Permanent! Now!

Quick, before this trend stops:

All told, it was a fabulous year to be very rich.

[Forbes magazine] counted some 587 billionaires around the world, up from 476 in 2003. Their total net worth jumped to $1.9 trillion from the $1.4 trillion the magazine counted in 2003.

“After two years of significantly falling fortunes, we really saw an uptick for just about everybody on the list,” said Luisa Kroll, an associate editor at Forbes who oversaw the project….

… In the United States, billionaires likely gained last year not only from a 20 percent rise in stock prices, but also from reductions in taxes on dividends, capital gains and estate taxes, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at

“High income, high net-worth households have done very well under the Bush administration,” said Zandi, adding that technological advances and trends toward globalization also tend to benefit the rich.

Nice to see that that .000001% of the population is doing quite well.(*) What about the nation’s poor? (2003 data not yet available):

But that’s just the poor, and there were only about 3 million or so more of them in 12/2002 than in early 2000, so who cares? What about the median household? Surely they are faring well? No, not them either. In 2002 dollars, median household income (Table A-1, p. 17) was $43,915 in 1999; $43,848 in 2000; $42,900 in 2001; and $42,409 in 2002.

Maybe we should just pass an amendment giving everyone the constitutional right to a billion dollars. Except the gays. They can stay poor.


(*) Note: While I don’t know any personally, I have nothing against billionaires, and I respect many of them. Indeed, risking the ire of my readers, I’ll say Gates, Buffet, Allen, even the Waltons, and surely many others on the Forbes list earned their wealth, created tens and tens of thousands of jobs, helped spur economic growth, and generated wealth for shareholders. But they did so in the 1990s, in the face of both Clinton’s tax rates and estate taxes. What I do disapprove of, however, is the administration’s using regressive tax cuts to augment that wealth.