Talking Party of the Rich on Fresh Air

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US Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority leader Eric Cantor speak to reporters on Capitol Hill
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Don't miss Fresh Air with Terry Gross today. Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson will be on discussing his latest story, about how the GOP became the Party of the One Percent.

As Dickinson reports, the party of Reagan (who raised taxes 11 times in eight years!) is a far cry from today's GOP. Republicans have completely and unambiguously abandoned the poor and the middle class to pursue their single-minded agenda of tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent. The result? "Since Republicans rededicated themselves to slashing taxes for the wealthy ..., the average annual income of the 400 richest Americans has more than tripled, to $345 million – while their share of the tax burden has plunged by 40 percent. Today, a billionaire in the top 400 pays less than 17 percent of his income in taxes – five percentage points less than a bus driver earning $26,000 a year. 'Most Americans got none of the growth of the preceding dozen years," says Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist. 'All the gains went to the top percentage points.'"

And that is a big part of why all across America thousands of people have lately taken to the streets in protest. The Occupy Wall Street movement, Tim writes, "has been fueled to a large extent by the GOP's all-out war on behalf of the rich."

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How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich