The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has another interesting report today on income inequality in the United States. See Aviva Aron-Dine, New Data Show Income Concentration Rose Again in 2006 (Mar. 27, 2008). The report is based on the work of Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, who issued an updated version of their research on income inequality, based on new information from the IRS. There are a couple of excellent graphs as well, worth looking at. Key points include:
- 2006 was the fourth straight year of significant income gains at the very top and very small gains everywhere else: from 2002-2006, the top 1% had average incomes rise by 44% or $335,0000. The bottom 90% had incomes rise by 3%, or $1000.
- The share of the nation's income going to the top 1% hasn't been that high since just before the Great Depression.
- Those in the very top income distribution--the top one-tenth of 1 percent--had enormous income gains rising 60%, or $1.9 million per household, since 2002.
- The three decades of booming economic growth after WWII lifted everybody's boats--the incomes of the bottom 90% actually increased more rapidly, on average, than the incomes of the top 1 percent.
- But the three decades since then (from the mid seventies on) have seen the incomes of most Americans increase only a little, while the incomes of the top 1 percent have "soared"