Salient to Investors:

  • Philip Vermeulen at ECB and Gabriel Zucman at London School of Economics said the wealth of the super-affluent is undercounted because of tax shelters and non-responses to questionnaires. Zucman said the top 0.1% of Americans with at least $20 million in net wealth owned 23.5% of all US wealth in 2012.  Vermeulen said the 1% held 35%-37% of wealth in 2010.
  • Zucman said financial wealth held offshore costs the US government $36 billion in annual revenue from nonpayment of taxes.
  • Zucman said 10% of the wealth of Europe’s super rich is in offshore accounts versus 4% in the US, and very rich people have wealth in foundations and holding companies that are difficult to calculate. Some European countries, particularly the UK, are actually as or even more unequal than the US, despite data showing they are more wealth-equal.
  • Christoph Lakner and Branko Milanovic at the World Bank said correcting the income data almost erases progress made from 1988 to 2008 in narrowing the gap between the world’s rich and poor.
  • Joseph Stiglitz cites a growing sense that our system is rigged and unfair and said some of the problems in the economy system are related to the true degree of inequality.
  • Carter Price at the Center for Equitable Growth said looking retrospectively, it is hard to assess what the effects of a policy were.
  • Austria’s top 1% owned as much as 36% of the country’s wealth in 2013, when adjusted for Forbes’ data.
  • Tyler Cowen at George Mason University said focusing on the top 1% when looking at income distribution is misguided: the real issue is whether there is opportunity for everyone else.


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