For Immediate Release
New Report Exposes Extreme Concentration of Wealth
Three dynastic wealth families—the Waltons, the Kochs, and the Mars—own more wealth than four million median wealth families
WASHINGTON - The new report “Billionaire Bonanza 2018: The Role of Dynastic Wealth,” by Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie of the Institute for Policy Studies, examines the growing concentration of wealth in the United States by taking a special look at 15 dynastically wealthy families on the Forbes 400 list combined with data from the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finance.
This report reveals a deeply unbalanced economy. While the median family in the United States owns just over $80,000 in household wealth, this report found that the 15 wealthiest families with multiple members on the Forbes 400 list own a combined $618 billion. All of the companies from which their wealth is derived were founded by their parents or earlier relatives.
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“These families have used their wealth and power to lobby and rig the rules to expand their wealth and power,” said Chuck Collins, co-author of the report. “Wealth dynasties are not inevitable. They happen when families dodge taxes, give little to charity, and use dynasty protection services to hide wealth.”
Addressing the problems our gross wealth inequality creates will require reforms at many different levels. This research outlines two bold and innovative solutions as ideas to directly target this problem.
- Wealth tax: A direct tax on wealth targeting the wealthiest one tenth of one percent, those with wealth over $20 million. This could generate an estimated $1.899 trillion in revenue over the next decade to be reinvested in creating and restoring opportunities for low wealth households to prosper.
- Inheritance tax: With the weakening of the federal estate tax, an innovative approach to breaking up destructive wealth dynasties is a direct tax on inherited wealth.
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