Pick a conclusion - any conclusion...
Consider the following table:
As we argue over inequality, perceptions rule, while facts can be disregarded. Partly I believe this is because we are hard-wired to notice and resent inequality, and lord knows the media sure like to point out what's going on with the rich folk.
But after noticing how the top is slurping up the income and paying the taxes, their grasp on the wealth of this nation is pretty stable.
Granted, the upper tier owns a lot of America - but it would seem they always have.
But one lesson I draw from this is we don't know how much tax the rich can pay without losing significant wealth share, so why not have a very progressive (soak-the-rich) tax scheme?
The answer may be at some point the creation of wealth stalls as the reward to generate more at the top disappears. Stable shares of a stagnant pile of wealth could be worse than a diminishing share of growing wealth for the 99-per-centers.
None of this is intuitive or particularly clear even after scrutiny, which is why debate rages over economic equality.
One interesting note: without the estate tax, we would not have a way to measure wealth shares, as was done in the above study. Eliminating the "death tax" would be a double bonus for the rich.