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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Corporate Wealth Share Rises for Top-Income Americans - New York Times

January 29, 2006
By DAVID CAY JOHNSTON
 
New government data indicate that the concentration of corporate wealth among the highest-income Americans grew significantly in 2003, as a trend that began in 1991 accelerated in the first year that President Bush and Congress cut taxes on capital.
 
In 2003 the top 1 percent of households owned 57.5 percent of corporate wealth, up from 53.4 percent the year before, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the latest income tax data. The top group's share of corporate wealth has grown by half since 1991, when it was 38.7 percent.
 
In 2003, incomes in the top 1 percent of households ranged from $237,000 to several billion dollars.
 
For every group below the top 1 percent, shares of corporate wealth have declined since 1991. These declines ranged from 12.7 percent for those on the 96th to 99th rungs on the income ladder to 57 percent for the poorest fifth of Americans, who made less than $16,300 and together owned 0.6 percent of corporate wealth in 2003, down from 1.4 percent in 1991.
 
The analysis did not measure wealth directly. It looked at taxes on capital gains, dividends, interest and rents. Income from securities owned by retirement plans and endowments was excluded, as were gains from noncorporate assets such as personal residences.
 
This technique for measuring wealth has long been used in standard economic studies, though critics have challenged that tradition.
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