In Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore, what are some statistics used to make claims?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Since capitalism, as an economic system, is all about acquisition and control, Moore is able to cite much in way of numbers to help him make his case that uncontrolled and unregulated capitalism is having an adverse effect on modern America.  One of the most stunning of them comes in the early going of the film, where Moore argues that in the 1950s, the richest paid a top tax rate of 90%.  This is contrasted with how the wealthier America got, the more ways the rich of the nation found ways to circumvent the tax code, passing it off to poorer Americans.  Moore argues that the top marginal rate decreased from 70% in 1980 to 28% in 1989, reflecting what Moore feels is Reaganomics' primary emphasis on wealth acquisition as opposed to social good.   As a flip side to this, Moore argues that while the rich experienced prosperity and unregulated success, middle class Americans were being squeezed in order to facilitate such a vision. He argues that personal bankruptcy filings would reflect this.  His statistics used were that in 1980 there were 287,570 personal bankruptcy filings in the United States; by 2005, that number soared to 2,039,214.  These and other facts like them are what Moore uses to question how capitalism can better serve America and its citizens.

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