All Money Trails Lead to Wall Street
October 25, 2011 · By Sam Pizzigati
An anthropologist estimates that one out of five dollars Americans earn ends up in Wall Street coffers, one way or another.
How much of our income goes to Wall Street? Anthropologist David Graeber, a specialist in the study of debt, recently set out to find out how much of an average American income ends up “appropriated” by the financial industry “in the form of interest payments, fees, penalties, and service charges.”
Graebner would quickly find that no government agency is actually compiling all that exact information. But mortgage and consumer interest charges alone, he discovered from Federal Reserve data, are eating up 15 to 17 percent of average household income, and that figure doesn’t include either student loans or “penalty fees” on bank and credit card accounts.
Overall, Graebner estimates, at least one dollar of every five Americans earn is “now likely to end up in Wall Street’s coffers in one way or another.” That’s substantially more than average Americans pay in federal income tax. Maybe we need some “tax reform” on all the levies Wall Street imposes on us.
Like this article? Get the weekly Too Much newsletter in your email inbox. Click here to subscribe.
- A Devil's Bargain on the Climate
February 24, 2014
- Celebrities, European Leaders Push for Final Deal on Wall Street Tax
February 19, 2014
- 7 Things to Look Out for in the UN's Green Climate Fund
February 13, 2014
- Talking Points: State of the Union, of War, of the Middle East
February 10, 2014