“New Math” in America Today… 8 Billionaires = 1,401,069 Teachers

  • Rich

There were 1,401,069 public school teachers west of the Mississippi River* in 2013, including Hawaii, Alaska, and the two largest school systems in America – Texas and California. At a national average of $56,383 (a livable wage), their combined income was $78.9 billion.

In other words, eight people made as much as all of the teachers west of the Mississippi and had $4.3 billion to spare.   (* Average teacher salary used because it represents a fair and just wage – a wage level at which a person can support themselves, their family and be prepared for future needs)

The combined income of all the teachers in Wisconsin doesn’t even match the income of one hedge fund manager.

George Soros (Soros Fund Management LLC) was the highest paid hedge fund manager in 2013, taking home $4 billion for the year.  This is $76.9 million per week, $15.3 million per day, or $1.9 million per hour.  For the sake of comparison – – – Wisconsin had 61,850 public school teachers (K – 12) in 2013, with an average annual salary of $55,171. Together these teachers made $3.412 billion. At $4 billion, Mr. Soros made $588 million more than all of the teachers in Wisconsin combined. 

In total, the top 25 hedge fund managers took home $24.3 billion in 2013 – more than all the teachers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas combined. Incredibly, these are the small players.

The unimaginable inequity implied by these numbers should shock everyone, but the picture is actually much worse.

 “And if tax avoidance is legal it’s because the people with money have redefined ‘legal.’”Paul Buchheit

Teachers, like most wage earners, pay from 20 to 30 percent in income taxes. Hedge fund managers and corporate heads pay 15 percent or less in taxes because of favorable tax legislation granted them by federal and state legislators. Additionally, while the corporations represented by these individuals receive some of the largest public subsidies in America, they are also among the largest tax evaders.

“Warren Buffett may be a fan of higher personal income taxes on the ultra-wealthy, but when it comes to Berkshire Hathaway  (NYSE: BRK-A  )  (NYSE: BRK-B  ) , he’s all about tax avoidance. On Berkshire’s balance sheet, you’ll find $49.5 billion in deferred income taxes” — The Motley Fool

Bill Gates “made all that money from Microsoft which, like other tax-avoiding technology giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, uses sophisticated systems to shift paper profits around the planet and evade the designs of governments. Indeed, so extreme are its methods the company was used as a case study in a Senate investigation into US corporate tax avoidance, which found one example of offshoring profits through a tiny Puerto Rico office alone saved it $4m a day in taxes.” “None of this is illegal, however absurd it appears. But it is highly unethical, especially when the chairman is exhorting countries to hand over taxpayers’ cash to his pet causes – and it certainly tarnishes that saintly image.”   —The Guardian

“Billionaires like Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and major conservative political donor, can shift their stock holdings into and out of various legal structures in ways {that} exempt the transfers from federal taxes. Adelson has passed nearly $8 billion to his heirs through a series of these transactions, bypassing $2.8 billion in taxes in the process. The $100 billion in tax savings that Adelson and people like him have amassed through the tactic over the past dozen years would be enough to pay for every American child to go to preschool for a decade.” — Think Progressive

The gross income inequality that now exists in America should cure of us of the illusion that there is anything left of our democracy. The deliberately perpetuated battle of “left” versus “right,” or “liberal” versus “conservative,” is a tool of divide and conquer.  The rich are neither. They intend to dominate us all.