Pay all people in U.S. and U.S. citizens abroad a "People's Dividend" of $4,500 per year funded by a wealth tax on the wealthiest 1% of U.S. households.

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                                     Enact the “People’s Dividend”
                       AND HELP 100% OF US IN AMERICA PROSPER

                                                THE PROBLEM

Between 1982 and 2017 the total Personal Net Worth (wealth) of the richest 1% in the U.S.  grew 6 ½ times larger.   Now it’s a staggering $27 trillion.  That’s about 40% of all the personal wealth in the U.S. and that $27 trillion is now growing by about $1.5 trillion per year. 

During the same time, the combined wealth of the least wealthy 50% of people in the U.S. decreased to less than zero.

Our economy cannot function with such a concentration of wealth at the top.  Our country cannot endure unless the prosperity is shared by everyone in the U.S.  If we don’t fix this, everybody loses.

                                               THE SOLUTION

The wealth of America was created by all of us – generations of teachers, soldiers, slaves, nurses, drivers, clerks, farmers, singers, actors, scientists, programmers, investors, architects, carpenters, mechanics, engineers, street sweepers, salespeople, accountants and law makers.  We have all helped to make America the economic powerhouse that it is today.  We should all share the wealth we have built. 



Redistribute the annual $1.5 trillion in additional growth of the personal net worth (wealth) owned by the top 1%, via the “People’s Dividend” – a permanent, unconditional, tax free, annual, cash payment of roughly $4,500 to every adult and child in the U.S., both citizens and non-citizens, and to every U.S. citizen living overseas ($18,000 for a family of four).  The only requirement is that the person have a Social Security or Taxpayer ID Number. 

The “People’s Dividend” will be paid for by a 7.8% tax on the personal wealth of the 1% that exceeds $5,000,000 per household.  (The 1% is composed of all households with a net worth over $5,000,000).


                                             THE BENEFITS

  • Every year $1.5 trillion in dividends will be paid out and consumed.  This will add about 10% to the National Income.  Everybody benefits.
  • This will create jobs and increase tax revenue.[ENDNOTE 1]   Everybody benefits.
  • It will drastically reduce poverty in the United States.  Everybody benefits.
  • Because a person will receive these payments regardless of their income, there is an incentive to work since they get to keep every additional dollar of income that they earn or receive.  Everybody benefits when more people are working.
  • It will Improve health and educational performance by enabling people to be better fed, better housed, better clothed and less anxious about their financial security. 
  • This is a simple law to write.  No other tax laws need to change.
  • The impact on the federal budget deficit is zero because the dividend payouts will be kept equal to the new wealth tax income.
  • The wealth of the super-rich 1% will NOT decrease.  Even though they own a staggering amount of wealth, they get to keep every penny.  They just don’t get to increase it even more.  The law shall direct Treasury to adjust the tax rate from time to time in order to hold the 1%’s personal net worth total at approximately $27 trillion.
  • The People’s Dividend will end the insidious, unfair, inequality that is turning our nation’s citizens against each other.
  • The $4,500 per year People’s Dividend goes on every year, forever, perpetually growing the economy.  Everybody continues to benefit.

                     YES OR NO?  OUR VOTES ARE IN THE BALANCE

Mr. President and members of the Congress, the People’s Dividend will make 99% of the voters richer and help 100% of us to prosper.  Please let us know whether you will enact this or not.  Unless your answer is “yes”, the next time you are up for election we will vote for someone else.   We will be contacting our Senators and Representatives and telling our friends to do the same. 

Congress’s phone number:  (202) 224-3121

                                            THE DETAILS

On the inequality of Personal Wealth[2] in the U.S.[3]

Over the 35 year period between 1982 and 2017, (I have projected 2014 through 2017 totals based on actual growth data through 2013):

The total wealth of the richest 1%[4] group got 6 1/2 times larger.

o   In 1982 it equaled $4 trillion; in 2017 it equaled $27 trillion.

o   In 1982 it equaled $1,800,000 per adult; in 2017 it equaled $8,400,000

o    It is growing at the rate of $1.5 trillion per year.


The total wealth of the next wealthiest 49%[5] group got 3 1/4 times larger.

o   In 1982 it equaled $13 trillion; in 2017 it equaled $42 trillion.

o   In 1982 it equaled $114,000 per adult; in 2017 it equaled $266,000 per adult.


The total wealth of the poorest 50% group decreased to less than zero.

o   In 1982 it equaled plus $335 billion; in 2017 it equaled minus $215 billion.

o   In 1982 it equaled plus $2,800 per adult; in 2017 it equaled minus $1,300 per adult.[6]


The total national Personal Net Worth “pie” has gotten almost 4 times larger[7].

o   In 1982 it equaled $18 trillion; in 2017 it equaled $69 trillion.



o   The top 1%’s wealth is growing faster than the total personal wealth pie;

o   The middle 49%’s wealth is growing slower than the total personal wealth pie;

o   The lowest 50% wealth is not growing at all.


On how the plan would be executed.

The “People’s Dividend” is a simple step that will immediately begin to rebuild the prosperity of the 99%, while keeping the staggering wealth of the 1% intact. 

1.       The Treasury/IRS or the Social Security Administration shall distribute the $1.5 trillion of the 1%’s annual wealth growth as a series of monthly payments to all of the 333,000,000[8] people in the US, both citizens and non-citizens, adults and children, and Americans living abroad who have a social security number or a taxpayer identification number, including the 1% wealthiest.

2.       This distribution will equal roughly $4,500[9] per person, per year, approximately $18,000 per year for a family of four.

3.       These payments shall be made with no conditions, shall be tax-free and shall be in addition to any and all other social benefits received by any person.

4.       Congress shall not use this as an excuse to cut other benefits or public services and leave us worse off than before. 

5.       The new law needs to simply say that a household whose net worth is over $5,000,000[10] , which is the minimum net worth to be part of the 1%, shall pay a tax of 7.8% on every dollar over $5,000,000.  This is a simple law to write.  No other tax laws need to change. The law shall direct Treasury to adjust the tax rate from time to time in order to hold the 1%’s net worth total at approximately $27 trillion.

6.       The tax will collect roughly $1.5 trillion. The tax can be imposed on 2017 end-of-year net worth and payouts can begin in 2018.  For the first two or three years the wealthy can self-report starting with their net worth as of the end of 2017.  They have accountants who can figure this out.  If a household is worth less than $5,000,000 they will not have to report wealth at all.  Meanwhile Treasury/IRS will set up a requirement that wealth depositories such as banks and mutual funds report the value of peoples’ assets and liabilities directly to Treasury/IRS, in much the same way that companies and banks do now with salaries, mortgages and interest earnings.  After two or three years, when Treasury has put these systems in place, they can go back to the self-reported wealth tax returns and check on whether people reported their wealth accurately or not.  If not, it will refund over-payments or collect underpayments, interest and penalty charges as necessary.

7.       The tax shall be set so that it collects annually an amount roughly equal to the annual growth in the 1%’s wealth.  The tax will not reduce the $27 trillion of wealth because it collects only the growth.  Nor will it reduce the 1%’s spending, because even after they spend what they want to, their wealth has still been growing by $1.5 trillion per year.  If their wealth decreases in a particular year, as it might if the stock market happened to decline, then the wealth tax rate would be reduced until their wealth recovers to $27 trillion.  If their wealth grows beyond $27 trillion then the wealth tax rate shall be increased.   

8.       Congress shall give adequate funds to the Treasury to enforce honest reporting and to track down wealth hidden in tax havens.   

9.       The payments will have zero impact on the federal budget deficit because the dividend payouts will be kept equal to the new wealth tax income.

10.   Since the payments will be made without conditions, except having a SS/TIN number, Congress will not have to wrangle about who is in “need”.  Because people are at liberty to use the “People’s Dividend” as they wish, no bureaucracy is necessary to enforce controls on their spending. 

11.   Because the payments are made to practically everyone they will build unity and avoid resentment.  We want all of us who live in this country to be on the same side. 

12.   Treasury shall make this data on wealth shares available to the public, who will follow the wealth share of the top 1% like we follow baseball standings.  That single measure, the 1%’s share of personal wealth, is the culmination of many factors such as automation, globalization, preferential tax rates on capital gains and government expenditures.  Until the Treasury does this we will be watching the WID data[11], to know whether or not the 99% is getting a fair deal.



The endnotes provide sources for the statements made in the petition.  The data in this petition comes mainly from Gabriel Zucman’s paper “Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data (with E. Saez)” and data tables that can be found on and from the World Wealth and Incomes Database [12]and on the projection by this petition’s author, Thomas Clarkson, of selected data from 2013 forward to 2017. The World Wealth and Income Database ( aims to provide open and convenient access to the most extensive available database on the historical evolution of the world distribution of income and wealth, both within countries and between countries.  Here is a link to the WID website:

 The author of this petition is Thomas Clarkson who is not affiliated with WID and WID and its staff are not responsible for the way the petition’s author has used their data.  Anyone can see the “Petition” workbook showing the author’s data sources and calculations by using the following link:

I use the word “dividend” to mean unearned income derived from capital.  In the case of the “People’s Dividend”, that I have described here, the capital is not owned by the recipients of the dividend.  But the economist, Yanis Varoufakis, has described a plan to create a “universal basic dividend” where the recipients do, in effect, own the capital via a Commons Capital Depository.  See his article at:

 [1] Imagine the impact on a town like Flint Michigan, if each of their population of about 100,000 people received $4,500 in a year.  They would have $450,000,000 ($450 million dollars) of additional spending on food, rent, cars, clothes, computers, medicine.  Small and large businesses in that town would see their sales increase.  Some households might use part of the money to replace their faulty water pipes, estimated cost-$7,500 per house
[2] “Wealth” is defined as Personal Net Worth which is the total value of non-financial and financial assets (housing, land, deposits, bonds, equities of corporations, etc.) held by private households minus their debts.
[3] Data for the wealth totals and growth rates are calculated on rows 42, 77 and 78 of  the tab “Distribution and Growth Data” of the  Petition Workbook located at:

[4] The “richest 1% refers to those in the 100th percentile of the wealth distribution.
[5] The “next wealthiest 49% group” refers to those between the 51st and 99th percentile of the wealth distribution.
[6] The poorest 50% of people now have more debt now than Dollars.
[7] Most of the numbers in this petition are rounded to make it easier to read.
[8] See Basic Fact 6, on the tab "Basic Facts" of the “Petition” workbook located at:

[9] See Basic Fact 7, same place
[10] $5,000,000 is the threshold wealth level or minimum amount of wealth to be part of the 1%.  See Basic Facts 5 and 9, on the tab “Basic Facts” of the  Petition Workbook found at:

[11]  (created by Facundo Alvaredo, Tony Atkinson, Thomas Picketty, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman and others)
[12]  (created by Facundo Alvaredo, Tony Atkinson, Thomas Picketty, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman and others)