Animated video shows staggering wealth inequality

Originally published at:


I propose that when we start guillotining the rich, we use a blade that is the shape of the wealth distribution graph in the US at that moment from the poorest at one end to where the accused falls on that graph on the other end, all normalized to the dimensions of a typical guillotine blade. The worst offenders get the most blunt slicey bois.


As a demonstration:

ETA: The billionaire blade is not quite accurate - I could not figure out how to make a curve that sharp without self intersecting. Also the billionaire blade schematic assumes that you can make the last 50% its tips length ~2 micrometers wide or smaller than the width of a human hair.


I’m on board, but why start so high? Is there a reason Warren (or Vox) started at a wealth number of $50million?

Seems to me that most “normal” people would consider half that number ($25million) as being “crazy rich.” Why not take 1% of everything over 25mill, 2% of $50million to a billion and 5% of everything over $1 Billion?

But seriously, my made-up numbers aside, how did Warren arrive at 50 million?


You have to consider the administrative overhead of determining the wealth of these people. $50m could be a reasonable cutoff where you don’t need an enormous staff to calculate net worth for so many people every year.

It also means you’re unlikely to personally know anybody affected by it.



Honestly…start ANYWHERE at this stage. I don’t feel any need to quibble over 50m vs 25m…START SOMEWHERE!!!


I would guess marketing reasons.

  • Ends with a 0 for a nice round number.
  • Using 10 would be to low and 100 to high.
  • It’s a easy mid point between 1 and 10 (10 and 100).

All the same reasons stores set prices to numbers to help draw you in for all the same reasons. :slight_smile:


So we need a Staggering Wealth INEquality tax? I bet someone clever can figure out a way to pitch that to a bipartisan audience.


In before the “taxayshun is teh theftz!” crowd shows up. I’m so in for this wealth tax. There’s no way in hell you can hoard $50M without doing some heinous shit to someone along the way.


So it should be 49.9 million. :wink:


But… They work hard for that money! So hard for it, honey!

Also, fuck the rich. Seriously. Anyone that feels they need to accumulate 10x+ the lifetime wealth of 99% of the other human beings on the planet in a fraction of that time, and hoard it for themselves as a way of showing their “score” rather than reinvest it into making the world a better place for more than just themselves is damaged at a level that’s beyond any likelihood of repair. It’s time to recycle them.



From an economic standpoint, this is as absolutely idiotic of a plan as any of the Republican plans.

Do you think the rich would just sign over a check? Or do you think that they would pull as much money out of the stock markets and out of the US economy and put it in other country’s economies as fast as they could?

Taxing income isn’t unfair because you take less than the amount earned, so the person would have the cash to pay for it. If you tax wealth, people will need to uninvest money to give to the government, because they won’t have the cash to pay for it.

And you think people complain about the “death tax” now? Imagine a farmer who owns $65MM worth of equipment and land who makes $100K a year, enough to live on. Now they have to pay 2% of $15MM each year, which means they can’t. (And yes, these numbers are not that inaccurate.) There are going to be a lot of people who have pretty sizable assets that they would have to sell because they don’t have enough cash flow to cover the wealth taxes.

Taxing income is fine, even at the 70% rate that AOC has proposed for people with incomes above $Millions, because by definition if you have income you had cash flow to support it.

Frankly, I suspect that Waren knows that this is a stupid idea and has proposed it exactly to take attention away from AOC’s proposals that make sense with a proposal that sounds great but has zero chance of ever being passed. Because remember, she’s rich too…

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One has to tax the wealth itself, not the wealthy. It is as easy to proclaim “I don’t actually own this yacht” as it is to claim "I don’t actually earn very much. By taxing the actual wealth, there are fewer places to hide. This way, the Manhattan penthouse gets taxed regardless of whether it is owned by a local resident, or by a Cayman Islands registered corporation. Tax not paid? The asset reverts to the state.


Could you point us to public information documenting exactly how many family farms there are out there (not corporate-owned) worth $65MM but somehow only making 0.15% annual return on their capital?

That would be the world’s stupidest farmer, if, in fact, they existed.


I mean, they could do that. Unless you also included in the taxation structure legislation that made that kind of tax evasion illegal, punishable by mandatory jail time and fines that far exceeded the owed tax.

If you tax wealth, people will need to uninvest money to give to the government, because they won’t have the cash to pay for it.

Yes. And? The mega-ultra rich would be forced to contribute a tiny, never-to-be-missed fraction of their wealth by, oh no, what, turning over a minuscule portion of the millions in dollars of dividends being spewed out by their investment portfolio each year? So that instead of locking away and hoarding that never-used wealth, that money gets funneled into stuff that actually improves society, like paying for education, health-care, poverty reduction, scientific and medical research? Yes. They will need to uninvest that money from a place that only benefits them and reinvest it in a place that benefits everybody. Because that’s the fucking idea.


This would be great if it worked, but if the past is any indication, the uber-wealthy would just bring that wealth to bear with lawsuits and lobbyists.

Even if this law was passed and enforced, the extremely rich would just go to further lengths to hide their assets. Off-shore accounts, false identities, moving wealth to other countries where it can be hidden, these people have enough money to hire the best and brightest to hide it for them.

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FWIW, our extremely typical and steadily profitable family farm (360 acres, raised cattle and corn) - was worth 750k.

Those are almost totally gone now, replaced by mega-corporate things-that-I-won’t-dignify by calling them “farms”. And the suicide rate among old-school farmers is shockingly high. So tax the shit out of those mega-agri-corporations, I say.


While contemplating very reasonable ideas like a wealth tax, perhaps we might restrain the hatred?

First, any group so clearly motivated by hatred are ripe for exploitation (as we so clearly see now-a-days).

Second, for the majority, such obvious hatred poisons what should be a seriously considered policy.

Thirdly, the hatred for the rich exposes a rich vein of hypocrisy that is almost painful to watch as we have to pretend that somehow we aren’t rich by almost any sane world standard. We end up with “poor people in other countries don’t count” mentality as we do acrobatic contortions to remove ourselves from the “rich” category. After all, many of the projected values for a US citizenship would place all US citizens in the 1% wealth category instantly.

We don’t need to make ourselves angels or the wealthy-by-North-American-standards devils in order to adopt good policy. If I’m doing either (and I am certainly prone to it), it’s more about assuaging my own needs than promulgating such policies in the most effective way possible. I’m literally choosing myself over those I’m claiming I want to help.

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They’d have to find a very stable tax haven that would still allow them to invest the hidden funds, which usually implies a significant formal and/or informal tax of its own. That’s not to say they wouldn’t do it, but the cost of doing so these days may very likely exceed the cost of the wealth tax.

Taxing income isn’t unfair because it’s a progressive tax. Taxing wealth in the manner described is even more progressive.

At the levels and thresholds described, the annual tax would be a small fraction of annual dividend income. Investments can remain in place.

They only complain about it because it’s a bogus term dreamed up by billionaire greedheads and their mult-millionaire minions, one that wouldn’t affect the vast majority of individuals or households.

A farmer who owns $65MM of capital equipment is not a human but a corporate person, and on an annual net profit of $100k/year not a very competent one.

Not so rich that she’d be affected by AOC’s proposal or her own. Her household’s net worth is estimated between $4-11-million. Her income in 2017 was $430k.