–Actually, the rich should love Obama: Paul K makes many great points this AM re paranoid plutocrats, but while he notes a number of Obama-era changes that hurt the wealthiest among us—higher marginal tax rates, financial market reform—the fact is that they’ve done really well under this President.
We just learned, for example, that for the 4th year in a row, real median earnings for full-time workers fell slightly in 2013 (I have a piece going up later on the NYT Economix blog on this). At the high end of the pay scale, however, corporate profits were 14.6 percent in the most recent data–over the history of this series going back to 1947, there was only one quarter higher than that — the last quarter of 2011. The equity indexes may have gotten whacked last Friday (and may open lower today as well), but last year’s S&P 500-stock index was up almost 30%, its best year in 16 years.
Yes, the rich got hit hard by the capital losses linked to the housing bust, but according to the latest data point in CBO’s comprehensive household income series—2010—the after-tax income of the top 1% was up $133,000 over the previous year, while that of the middle fifth was down $100. In fact, just the change in the real income of the top 1% was more than twice the level of the income of the middle fifth ($133,000 vs. $57,900).
I’d also note that while top personal income tax rates went up under the President, the increase only affected households above $400K-$450K, not the $250K he ran on. His tax plan actually permanently locked in more than 80% of the Bush tax cuts.
I get that the President has said stuff that rubbed some rich folks the wrong way, but as Paul says, he’s awfully mild relative to say, FDR. But in both economics and Buddhism, we’re taught to look at what actually happened. That should pretty quickly lead you to conclude that if Obama is a socialist, he’s the worst socialist ever.