We will complete this vision of American heritage through the work of Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez who studied the inheritance of very high asset wealth upon their death, when declarations of succession. They obtained the following results:

Of course, as it is wealth at death, they do not reflect the condition of the heritage of the whole population. By cons, they are necessarily correlated with income distributions in the past. The first chart shows the evolution of very high estates over a century (60 years only for the Top 2%).

We find a movement similar to that observed on income, with a significant decline in the late 1960s.

We can therefore make the conjecture that the average savings accumulated during thirty years before the death – which appears coherent, savings begin to accumulate around 40 to 50 years. One can also speculate that within 5 years the estate assets will begin to increase sharply.

Finally, to conclude our trip to the United States, we have shown in the chart above, as for income, changes in the estate of the top 0.01% and the rate and the marginal portion of the inheritance tax.

For example, we observe that the share of the top 0.01% estates has been minimal in 1982, accounting for 2.5% of total assets. The Inheritance Tax (Estate Tax) was a very high marginal rates of over 70% for nearly 50 years, first on slices of symbolic heritage of $ 600 million constant 2009, but after this age greatly declined to nearly 10 million $ 2,009 in 1981. The wafer and the rate then continued to fall until GW Bush quadruple the level of the tranche in 2000, and then further down the rate (45%).

Of course, the fact that wealth accumulation results from very long (about thirty years on average according to our conjecture), and the fact that we only had a vision of estate assets rather than a heritage average the entire population, prevent direct conclusions and final reconciliation of two pieces of information.

Is observed in all cases the graph is a clear correlation of changes. This tax is also representative of the standards of social acceptability of inequalities.

An intense debate took place in the United States in 2001 and 2006, as Bush has proposed a removal of this tax, « cleverly » called by the neoconservatives of death tax (death tax). The interesting fact is that most people who protested were hundreds of American billionaires, led by George Sorros, Warren Buffett, the heirs Rockefeller and the father of Bill Gates – the tax used to finance not only the state but especially redistribute the cards at a social death. However, if America encourages enrichment, it is conceived that under talent, and not a hereditary link.

« The rich must pay inheritance taxes, because they have a special debt. Their wealth would not have been possible without a strong society supporting capitalism. Many of the things that led to the enormous advance in our economy have arisen on campus or in laboratories. And most have only been possible because the government has funded. « [William Gates Sr., 78 years]

« Repeal the Estate Tax would be a terrible mistake to build the equivalent of 2020 Olympic team by selecting the youngest child of gold medals in the 2000 games. We would view this as a folly in terms of athletic competition. Now we have a social mobility that allows talented people to obtain jobs that match their best. Without inheritance, you will have an aristocracy of wealth, which will mean that you will base the management of the country’s resources on heredity rather than merit. « [Warren Buffet]

« There is nothing more difficult to justify the right that we give to men to dispose of their property after their death. « [Adam Smith]

Estate Tax accounts for 25 billion dollars per year, paid by 48,000 Americans each year, less than 2% of deaths, half being paid by the 4,000 who die with more than $ 5 million in assets. Bush has not repealed, but he nevertheless exceptionally removed in 2010. Obama failed to recover, but a controversy arose in mid-2010 with the death of Dan L. Duncan, 74th World Capital, which has left 9 billion net tax his heirs, depriving the state of $ 4 billion.

In conclusion of this long analysis – but it is difficult to understand the roots of the crisis without mastering the social milieu in which it developed – we can retain the following highlights for the United States:

  • a very high level of income inequality in the 20s, until the crisis of 1929. It was followed by a period of major reduction in inequality (the
  • « Great Compression ») until the late 1970s. Since then the situation of the vast majority of the population has stagnated while the highest incomes have exploded;
  • Great compression was due to a lower concentration of perceptions of dividends, probably due to the sharp rise in tax income reached;
  • the main beneficiaries of these changes driven by the neoconservatives have been very small: it schematically the top 0.5% (over $ 500K in revenues), and especially the top 0.1% (over 1.7 million $);
  • distribution of the fruits of income growth in the last decade has been particularlyegalitarian: the top 1% has awarded more than 50% of the total mass;
  • this movement has strengthened the extremely unequal distribution of wealth in theUnited States, especially in the detention of shareholder power.

The United States is the country developed the most unequal, and these inequalitieshave widened over the past twenty years. Moreover, the country managed to impose hisneo-conservative model of growing inequality in the world. The prosperity of the country in this period has benefited only a very small fraction of the population, and was at the expense of the vast majority: the wealth captured by no means  »dropped back ». »Enriching the rich » has served mainly to enrich the rich … - and inclinations ofsuppressing the rights of succession designed to perpetuate these inequalities.

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Related posts:

  1. Wealth Inequality in the US (1/2)
  2. Wealth Inequality in the US (2/2)
  3. Income Inequality in the US (2/3)
  4. Income Inequality in the US (1/3)
  5. Income Inequality in the US (3/3)


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