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Will the Looming Fiscal Cliff Push the Rich’s Riches Even Higher?

Year-end dividends to shareholders could be quick windfall.

While you might have read about the possibility of the United States going over the fiscal cliff, the impending crisis may benefit some of the richest people in the country, according to a story on Quartz’s website.

The article posits the theory that the potential of the U.S. government possibly raising taxes on dividends is causing corporate America to release some of its almost $1.8 trillion in cash and liquid assets in the form of dividends to shareholders.

The Wall Street Journal is cited in the piece, bolstering the idea, and a quote from a Financial Times article is reprinted, stating that “a record 103 companies have announced they will pay special dividends before the end of the year.”

The Financial Times quote goes on to say the last time this happened was “during the fourth quarter of 2010 [,] the last time that the so-called Bush tax cuts were about to expire.”

One shareholder – Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson – is singled out as potentially being the recipient of $1.2 billion in dividends on his 52 percent ownership interest in the casino company.

Is the threat of a fiscal cliff really a fiscal lift for the rich? How is the DC Metro region, known for its wealth, preparing for potentially higher taxes?

Eric S. November 29, 2012 at 07:34 PM
The ultra rich are going to get richer no matter what, in that hey have a lock on the rules for money, the rules for ownership of stuff, and the rules for making rules, as well as how anyone gets into the ruling class, and they've made everyone think they are at odds with each other, when they're collectively pitting the little people against each other, and reaping all the benefits. That said, this fiscal cliff stuff smells like a steaming pile of crap to me. The govt. freaks out pretty much every year now, it seems, about the budget, and at the last minute, everything magically gets approved. And if this isn't all magical BS, and it's more real than I think it is [0], then our area may well suffer. A lot of the riches here are tied to the govt. after all, which is supposedly losing a lot of funding if this goes down. Wall Street, on the other hand, will likely make a crapload. And once they no longer see a use for the rock they're running into the ground, they'll move to another one. ~EEE~ [0] I'm 34, and as someone at the tail end of Generation X, I'm reserving my right to be cynical about everything. The media has been crying wolf about EVERYTHING since I've been aware of news existing.
Shaka Zulu November 30, 2012 at 06:30 PM
It is a shame not one person in congress really cares about our country or the future generations that are going to have to pay this back, just so they and I mean both parties can have whatever power they have, what a shame we have done to America.
jag November 30, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Well that's awfully pessimistic. I'm not sure there's enough sadistic people in the world to simply want to run for Congress for the heck of it. Obviously, the vast majority are there because they care about the country. Whether you agree with their viewpoints is a different issue, but certainly the offices should still command respect.
Linda P. December 03, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Eric S. is right on the mark! The answer to the defiance & usury by corps. toward the govt. & masses, will only come, when the masses take action. 1st, GAAP (corp. accting principals) must be changed radically! 2nd Step is overturning "Citizens United!" Rewrite Fed Regs to pre-Reagan era. Until corps. can gain from more than just dollar profits, they wont operate for public benefit. Why do we: believe corp. media, when we can watch Free Speech TV (or stream it); still patronize banks, when we have oodles of credit unions; continue to buy products manufactured by corps. who pay their officials millions; buy foodstuffs from corporate farms, who wont even allow the public to enter their grounds; not DEMAND that Fracking stop immediately, anyplace in the world; not campaign for govt. agencies to revert back to protecting the public, instead of 'assisting' corporations. If 10% of the time we spend online, was spent joining the FEW who call Congress, actively try to curb corporate injustices, & transferi our country back to its people, we could begin to win some of these battles! When bullies receive no challenge, they step-up their game!

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