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For the first time in history, U.S. billionaires paid a lower tax rate than the working class last year
No country (apart from Russia) for which estimates of wealth inequality are available has similarly high recorded levels of wealth inequality, writes assistant economics professor Gabriel Zucman in a new report on the staggeringly uneven wealth distribution in the U.S. today. According to his report, the top 1 percent owns at least 40 percent of the country's entire household wealth. As this reporter points out: "Perhaps the most interesting part of Zucman's research may be his point that the top 1% of American households likely hold much more of the nation's and the world's wealth than anyone realizes." For instance, he estimates that 8 percent of the world's household financial wealth is held in offshore tax shelters. "It is not enough to study wealth concentration using self-reported survey data or tax return data," he says. "Because the wealthy have access to many opportunities for tax avoidance and tax evasion -- and because the available evidence suggests that the tax planning industry has grown since the 1980s as it became globalized -- traditional data sources are likely to under-estimate the level and rise of wealth concentration." Stories on this topic have appeared in dozens of sources, including Marketwatch. For more on this, link to Professor Zucman's report here.