The Republican position on tax increases was perfectly articulated by Mitch McConnell on Fox News Sunday. Per the NY Times:
On “Fox News Sunday,” the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said that he was “for the biggest deal possible, too, it’s just that we’re not going to raise taxes in the middle of this horrible economic situation.”
Yes, we are in a “horrible economic situation.” Of that there can be no doubt. But the horribleness of that situation is not being felt by a segment of the population — High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) — whose numbers and net worth have swelled even over the past two years. Per the annual Capgemini/Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report:
The population of HNWIs in North America rose 8.6% in 2010 to 3.4 million, after rising 16.6% in 2009. Their wealth rose 9.1% to US$11.6 trillion. [Ed note: Per Capgemini’s 2010, the HNWI gain in 2009 was 17.8%.]
While the single biggest asset most of us own is our home (still deflating, unfortunately), the single biggest asset most HNWI own is their investment portfolio (S&P500 up almost 100 percent over the past two years); real wages for working stiffs barely budging while those in the C-suite party like it’s 1999 (or 2007). These folks — presumably the “job creators” about whom we hear so much on a regular basis — have seen their wealth rise by about 28% over the past two years. I can only conclude that a 13+ percent annual gain on one’s wealth is insufficient to begin adding to payrolls, which begs the question as to how much more wealth our “job creators” need to amass before they’ll hang the “Help Wanted” sign. Or how much additional wealth they need to amass before a minimal tax increase is considered within the realm of the possible.
NOTE: Per Capgemini:
1 HNWIs are defined as those having investable assets of US$1 million or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables.
2 Ultra-HNWIs are defined as those having investable assets of US$30 million or more, excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables, and consumer durables.