The World Economic Forum estimates the total number of billionaires on the planet at just above 2,200. The wealthiest 26 of them own more “stuff”—money, stocks, bonds, mansions, cars, yachts, planes, art—than the 3.8 billion people at the bottom of the economic ladder combined.
Currently a typical warehouse worker employed by Amazon gets paid about $10-12 per hour and has a net worth slightly above zero. The man who runs Amazon, according to Forbes’ estimates, has a net worth of over $200 billion.
A review of the tax returns of 250 large American corporations for the years 2008-2015 discovered that eight of them paid no taxes during the entire period. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy cited firms like General Electric, International Paper, Priceline.com, and PG&E as leading examples of zero-tax businesses. At least 100 firms in the study—40 percent—paid no tax in at least one of those years. Recent news reports indicate that Amazon, a firm with a stock market capitalization approaching a trillion dollars, paid no tax for the most recent year.
Does it seem like somehow, somewhere along the way, the American economic miracle got hijacked? Did the Founders miss something as they went about designing the economic model for the Republic? How did the “land of opportunity” devolve into the land of “winner takes it all?”