Lawrence Kudlow notes the vast expansion of the investor class, and its political implications:
A brand new, hot—off—the—press survey shows that the American investor class continues to grow by leaps and bounds. In the last three years, the number of families owning stocks has risen to 56.9 million from 54.1 million, meaning that nearly 60% of U.S. households are invested in equities today. That number is even more striking when you look back 20 years, when only a fifth of households were card—carrying members of the investor class.
With the House and Senate now weighing crucial votes on whether to make permanent the 15% tax rates on investor dividends and capital gains, you'd think our elected officials would be considering the needs of America's stock—owning families. But the Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi Democrats continue to oppose these tax cuts as nothing more than sops to the rich. Are they saying that three—fifths of American families are rich? Zogby polling shows that nearly all Americans — 93% — earning $75,000 a year or more own stocks. They can't all be rich. And how about those earning up to $75,000 a year? In this group, more than half, or 56%, own shares. Of those earning below $50,000 a year — a group that in the aggregate pays very little in taxes overall — 30% own stocks.
The "tax cuts for the rich" argument just gets weaker and weaker as the investment class gets larger and larger.
FDR made his New Deal Program, particularly Social Security, widespread and applicable to all Americans so as too decrease the risk that they would ever be abolished since everyone would have a stake in their perpetuity. Bush should work to increase the number of shareholders in America for the exact same reason: by making everyone an investor, he will make everyone have a stake in the success of capitalism.
Ed Lasky 11 16 05