Robust economic gains were widely shared in the three decades after World War II. The average income for the bottom 90 percent in those years (1946-1976) actually increased more rapidly percentage-wise than the average income of the top 1 percent. Those days are long gone.
In the three decades since 1976, the incomes of the bottom 90 percent of households have risen only slightly, but the incomes of the top 1 percent have soared, as illustrated in the above graphic provided by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a Washington think tank.That is among of the income disparities highlighted in a September 9 CBPP report on newly released Census Bureau/IRS data analyzed by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez
Although economic equality is high in the United States, inequality in wealth is even higher, as noted in Bard College’s Levy Economics Institute 2007 report on inequality, one of the Institute’s series on the Measure of Economic Well-Being.
The CBPP report does not deal with whether the increased concentration of income caused the economic collapse that began in 2008. At least one noted economist does – Thomas Palley in a policy paper for the New America Foundation. See my August 25 Weblog story on it, titled “Rx: a new economic model that would value work and workers.”