Thanks Gary Waldman!
THE FORBES 400 AND THE KOCH BROTHERS
Since 1982 Forbes magazine has annually published a list of the 400 richest individuals in the U.S. along with their estimated wealth. The “Forbes 400” have done very well since 1982: their average wealth has increased by a factor of more than 23. Furthermore, their effective average taxes have gone down from 34.8% to 23.0%. Just these 400 individuals took in 1.1% of national income and held 3% of national wealth in 2018, up from 0.3% and 0.5% respectively in 1982.
It’s a little different for the lower half of the wealth scale (bottom 50%). Their wealth only increased by 2.4% from 1982 to 2018, while their effective tax rate went from 26.3% to 24.2%. Yes, the 400 richest Americans now pay taxes at a lower rate than the bottom 50%. Their income share dropped from 18.9% to 12.7% and their wealth share from 1.9% to 0.7%. All numbers are from the website http://www.taxjusticenow.org.
The Koch brothers have been on the “Forbes 400” list since its inception, always each with exactly the same fortune as the other. They have done even better than the average 400 lister. In 1982 they were tied for 15th place, each with an estimated wealth of $266 million.
In 2019 Charles Koch and Julia Koch, the widow of David, were tied for 13th place with $41 billion each! Obviously they would have been on the list even if it were the “Forbes 100”. The 266 million 1982 dollars is equivalent to 697 million 2019 dollars.
That means the wealth of the Koch’s has increased by a factor of nearly 60 in 37 years, even with inflation taken into account. If you spent 1 million dollars a day, seven days a week, it would take you more than 112 years to spend $41 billion. This is the kind of concentrated wealth we are fighting.