Does it really matter who the Top 1% are and how much they make?

For some, it makes a big difference. I’ve been spitting out tax statistics that people have been shrugging off for years, but I had a revelation earlier today. It does not matter. It’s just another Symptom of the Disease.

Bitch about how the federal government gives bailouts to the banks. Complain about how the federal government sets regulations to favor of Wall Street bankers and the rich. Gripe about federal tax loopholes favoring the rich. Fuss and moan about the federal government setting up the tax structure so the rich get richer and the poor poorer.

What do all of those complaints have in common? It’s the federal government. I’ll never say there should be no government oversight or regulation, but you need to face the following fact.

There will be no law or presidential executive order that will solve the problem. None – it’s not possible.

Got that? Any additional rules or tweaks to the tax system will not fix the problems as defined by the Occupy crowd. If you tweak the system in favor of the 99 percent, the 99 percenters will not experience any great rising.

More Tax Statistics

This is from the IRS website. (Source table)

  • In 2008, the bottom floor adjusted gross income for the top 1 percent was $380,359. I can guaranty you that figure will be lower in 2009 and probably 2010 too. That means the top 1 percent made $380,359 or more.
  • The top 5 percent in 2008 made $159,619 or more.

What happened to the incomes of the rich between 2001 and 2008?

Well the rich earned more money, and the less fortunate earned more money too … up to a point. The top 1 percent peaked in 2007 with incomes of more than $410,096 and in 2008, the floor dropped about 7.4 percent.

What about the top 5 percent and the top 10 percent who made more than $159,619 and $113,799 respectively in 2008? Their income as compared to 2007 was about the same.

You’d think that something really bad happened in the last year that resulted in the OWS protests, but the top 25 percent and top 50 percent who made more than $67,280 and $33,048 respectively, had their incomes go up a little bit.

To satisfy the complainers, let’s compare 2008 to 2001, where the top 1 percent’s income went up 29 percent, the top 25 percent of earners increased their income by 20 percent, and the top 50 percent of earners increased their income by 16 percent. Is that a problem for you? Well, if it is, good luck trying to find a new federal tax strategy to “equalize” the percentage of increase. You’ll be chasing that ball down a really long hill that leads to a cliff.

I’m not sure what will happen in 2009 through 2010, and I would not be surprised if everyone was a loser … except for the federal government of course, who gets to spend every dollar we send them plus another 35 cents that we don’t have.

One last tax table. Take a look at the percentages carefully. This is from IRS data, courtesy The Tax Foundation.

So the point is the statistics tell a story, and we can all put our different spin on statistics and complain about 1 percent here, or 5 percent there. If you want to discuss the real disease, of which all of these symptoms are derived from, you need to learn to embrace Federalism and understand these problems are all the result of the gross expansion of the federal government’s role throughout the country.

We are the United States of America. Let’s get back to the importance of States in the equation.

I know, you’re all sick of me bringing this up…

Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Lynn on October 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Not sick at all. Economics and statistics are a foreign language to me. I like to learn and I learn from all on RVO, even those with whom I don’t agree. ” Does it really matter who the top 1% are and how much they make?”No.? We need to cut the federal government and make the states responsible to deliver services that are required, not look to the federal govt. to subsidize them.? I know you said it, but it can’t be repeated often enough. Ohmmmmmmm.

  2. sammy22 on October 27, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I can understand your passion, Steve. And, at the same time I am reminded of Don Quixote, or the “genie out of the bottle” or…

    • Dimsdale on October 30, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Methinks the denizens of OWS are chasing windmills too….

  3. cherwin on October 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    That’s the question I keep asking. What is the point of this whole OWS? Do they know? What difference does it make who, why, where the top 1% is? Do they want them to give their money to them? Do they think they don’t deserve to have more than someone else? I don’t get it.?
    There are only a few?reasons you have more money. You inherit it, you win the lottery, you?steal it,?
    or you become successful and earn it. So unless you stole it you don’t have to share it with anyone. In the process of?becoming successful you gave up something to concentrate on?learning something.?If you are very successful you probably have produced jobs for others. So what is the problem here?
    Then I have to laugh because they consider someone who makes $200,000 wealthy. Are you kidding? They are so?ignorant that they don’t even know what wealthy is.?If you?have a family, cars, a mortage etc. etc. $200,000 is hardly wealthy. Who came up with that number?
    When you look at how sports figures or entertainers live~~~ that is wealth!!! ?????

  4. Marilyn W. on October 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I’m not tired of you discussing this issue of the “higher”?wage earning individuals.? The problem is the government. Period.? We all pull the wagons, and some more so then others.?
    I know I’m probably off base with this comment that I heard on the radio this a.m.?while driving my 2000 Honda Accord, Bob, I believe his name is, grab your ankles and don’t blame?individuals who are fortunate to make more money.? “They” will spend it…not you!
    This society is to easy to blame others when things go wrong.? Take responsibility for your actions.

  5. winnie on October 28, 2011 at 4:00 am

    Things are a flaming mess and these OWS fools have no one to blame but Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Frank, etc.? But they’ll? blame people like my dad, who built a successful manufacturing business without the benefit of a high school education.? They have more opportunities than any generation before them and they’re pi**ing them away by squatting in parks around the country, eating gourmet grub provided for free while turning out the homeless and perpetuating acts of violence against each other all while complaining of other people working?????? They’re the pigs at the trough.? Not the WS banker who negotiated a healthy, long term contract that benefits him and his family.? I’m really starting to think it’s nothing but jealousy under the cover of “social justice” for the little guy.? Please.

  6. JBS on October 28, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Steve, you are so right. The whole thing for me was in the sentence, “the federal government of course, who gets to spend every dollar we send them plus another 35 cents that we don?t have(!) . That defines the problem right there!
    It’s the spending.! It’s the spending! It’s the spending.! It’s the spending! (Repeat)

  7. mynoc3 on October 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I find complaining about the top 1% making more is pointless.? Of course their income raises more.? Even if they don’t make or sell additional product over time, inflation should still push things up.? As opposed to the bottom who make 0.? Add any percentage to zero and it still equals zero.? The reason to nitpick is appearance for the left.? Attacking those making $250k is bad.? Attacking those making $1 million is good.

  8. Dimsdale on October 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    So they complain about the greed of the wealthy while practicing envy at their wealth?? The difference is that in most cases (Kennedys and Kerry excluded!), the wealthy actually work for their money, while those that envy them want to simply have the government seize their wealth and divide it amongst the envious.? No mention of going out an earning their own wealth.

  9. sammy22 on October 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    It’s always sooooo easy. The wealthy work for their wealth and the rest of us are a bunch of lazy bums waiting for a handout. A corollary of this distorted view is that the poor enjoy being poor and want to stay that way.

    • kateinmaine on October 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      many must–otherwise why do they seem so content to get in another line for another handout?? that notwithstanding, there are also many who are busting butt to get educated,? learn a skill, take entry level work to gain necessary experience or risking all in the ultimate gamble of moving to a different area to find a better foothold.? this is nothing new–people have always done this, both in good and bad economic times.? and it’s not just the poor.? anyone can do this–and it requires neither gov’t. handouts/intervention nor inciting envy/class warfare.? i might be mistaken, but i think it used to be known as the ‘promise of america’, which is a bit of rhetoric, not an actual ‘promise’ or ‘right’.? that said, listing the richest 1% is yet another leftist tool in the disincentive box which serves to make any effort at self-improvement appear futile, with the added bonus of keeping large segments of the population down.? is that hope?? is that social justice??

    • Dimsdale on October 29, 2011 at 7:01 pm

      Actually, the accusations by the left are that the rich don’t work at all, except to financially “rape” the poor and middle class. ? Now that’s distorted.? Just as distorted as the view that the rich hoard all their money and swim in giant money bins like Scrooge McDuck.? All things proposed by the Democrats and ?bama.? Nobody claims that the “rest of us are a bunch of lazy bums waiting for a handout”.? I think those that lust after the money of others, for no other reason than that the rich have it and others don’t, are looking for government mediated redistribution, or, as you put it, a handout.? Why would anyone want to be poor?? Sure, some get plenty of freebies from the government, taking away most of the incentive to work their way up, but few look on the poor as something to envy.

  10. ricbee on October 28, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    ?I don’t care who the “top 1%” are,I want to get into the bottom 53%.

  11. Dimsdale on October 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    As long as people want what others have, there will always be someone with something “I don’t have”, which only redistribution by the government will be able to solve.


The website's content and articles were migrated to a new framework in October 2023. You may see [shortcodes in brackets] that do not make any sense. Please ignore that stuff. We may fix it at some point, but we do not have the time now.

You'll also note comments migrated over may have misplaced question marks and missing spaces. All comments were migrated, but trackbacks may not show.

The site is not broken.