The rich are getting richer, with a growing concentration of great wealth not seen since the Roaring Twenties, according to an analysis described in the Washington Post. So you could say Gov. Asa Hutchinson is in step with the times with an income tax cut plan that gives most of the benefits to the richest 1 percent in Arkansas.
Says the Post:
The 400 richest Americans — the top 0.00025 percent of the population — have tripled their share of the nation’s wealth since the early 1980s, according to a new working paper on wealth inequality by University of California at Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman.
Those 400 Americans own more of the country’s riches than the 150 million adults in the bottom 60 percent of the wealth distribution, who saw their share of the nation’s wealth fall from 5.7 percent in 1987 to 2.1 percent in 2014, according to the World Inequality Database maintained by Zucman and others.
Some Waltons are on the list of 400, of course. They’ll be getting a state income tax cut of nearly 15 percent when Hutchinson’s plan is fully phased in over two years. Many others not on the list will benefit hugely.
An independent analysis has said that some $150 million in tax cuts a year will be overwhelmingly enjoyed by the rich. About 75 percent will go to the top 1 percent, making more than $450,000 a year. About 90 percent will go to the top 5 percent, making more than $205,000 a year. About 20 percent of Arkansas taxpayer will receive a tax reduction, but it will be negligible for most of them, with 99 percent of the breaks going to those making more than $80,000. At $80,501 in income, it will be worth about $250, or 70 cents a day; at $100,000 about $500 a year, or $1.40 a day.
A Walton, knocking down tens of millions a year in income, will save $92,500 for every $10 million in income, more than $250 a day.
The state’s tax priorities in this legislation clearly are in tune with the times. What better indication is an editorial recently by the Wall Street Journal lavishing praise on Asa for being brave enough to send tax relief to the rich, where it will do the most good.