America’s financial divide continuing to widen

How much is enough for the ultrarich?

As the budget impasse in Congress between the Democrats and the Republicans continually grows worse, Republicans are adamant that there be no new tax increases on the very wealthy regardless of their many tax loopholes, offshore accounts, legions of high-paid lobbyists, etc. While questions of fairness and the public interest are occasionally mentioned, the standard GOP rebuttal is class warfare.

The reasons for these concerns were sharply brought into focus on the April 24 Money Matters page of The Maui News. Specifically, while the richest Americans got richer during the first two years of the recovery, average net worth declined for the other 93 percent of U.S. households. In fact, the upper 7 percent of households owned 63 percent of the nation’s household wealth in 2011, up from 59 percent in 2009. This report from the Pew Research Center is the latest to point out the financial inequality that has been growing among Americans for decades.

So, what piece of the pie are the GOP leaders in Congress now seeking for their multimillionaire and billionaire constituents who contribute so generously to their campaigns? While Republicans are unlikely to admit it, my guess is at least 80 percent by the end of the next 10 years.

Welcome to the new Gilded Age.

Malcolm Findley