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Aux USA : " The rich and the rest "

Informations, statistiques et opinions sur la répartition des revenus et patrimoines,

Aux USA : " The rich and the rest "

Messagepar causonsen » Mer 17 Oct 2012 18:51

Article paru sur " The Economist " du 17 octobre 2012, sur la question du développement des inégalités aux USA.
On y constate notamment l'effet du développement de la finance spéculative. Indépendamment du creusement, désormais bien connu, de l'écart entre les riches et les pauvres, on y découvre aussi que les dirigeants des 25 plus grands hedge-funds gagnent plus que l'ensemble des dirigeants des 500 sociétés industrielles et commerciales cotées au Standard and Poors !

Extraits :

" Over the past 30 years incomes have soared both among the wealthy and the ultra-wealthy. The higher up the income ladder, the bigger the rise has been. The result has been a huge, and widening, gap—financially, socially and geographically—between America’s elite and the rest of the country.
The result was a dramatic divergence in fortunes. Between 1979 and 2007 (just before the financial crisis) the real disposable income after taxes and transfers of the top 1% of Americans more than quadrupled, a cumulative rise of over 300%. Over the same period the bottom fifth’s income rose by only 40%. The middle class shrank, both as a share of the population and geographically. Only 40% of American neighbourhoods now have an average income within 20% of the national median, compared with 60% in the 1970s.
The recession temporarily upended this trend. America’s wealthiest fared poorly in 2008 and 2009, largely because the tanking stockmarket ravaged their bonuses and share options. The government safety net prevented a collapse at the bottom. But the sluggish recovery has brought back the old pattern. More than 90% of all income gains since the recession ended have gone to the top 1%. "
A disproportionate, and growing, chunk of the very rich, however, have made their money in Wall Street rather than Main Street. An analysis by Mr Kaplan and Joshua Rauh, now of Stanford University, shows that the share of investment bankers among the top 0.1% is larger than the share of senior executives. America’s top 25 hedge-fund managers make more than all the CEOs of the S&P 500 combined.
Financiers have also been among the biggest winners from changes to America’s tax code. The country’s top rate of income tax has been repeatedly slashed since 1980, from 70% to 35%. By itself, that reduction has not greatly affected average tax burdens at the top (since there have been enough loopholes to ensure that few people paid the top rate). America’s richest have gained more from reductions in the capital-gains tax, which is now only 15%. Private-equity moguls have done particularly well, since the tax code allows them to classify their income as capital gains.
Whatever its causes, the stratification of American society is having profound consequences. A country that prides itself on its social mobility is already less mobile than most people think and is almost certainly becoming even less so. As the box with the previous article showed, standard measures of inter-generational mobility in America are lower than in Canada and much of Europe. Most of this has to do with the difficulty of escaping from the bottom rungs of America’s income ladder. According to Markus Jantti, a Finnish economist who has studied mobility across countries, more than 40% of the sons of the poorest 20% of Americans stay in that quintile, compared with around 25% in Nordic countries. The evidence is mixed on whether social mobility has lessened or simply stayed the same over the past 30 years. But it is clear that there has been no improvement in mobility to compensate for widening inequality.

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