The Wealth Gap: Where the 1 Percent Loses

Annie Lowrey acknowledges the growing income inequality gap in the U.S. but states that “wealth inequality has been increasing too, as a new study by Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Gabriel Zucman of the University of California, Berkeley, shows.”

“In a preliminary report, [the economists] find that at the very top, wealth is distributed as unevenly as it was in the early 20th century. And the wealthiest 0.1 percent, and especially the 0.01 percent, have left the rest of the 1 percent in the dust.”

But, the economists also “found that the so-called ‘middle rich’ have actually been losing ground, wealth-wise, while the super-rich have accounted for a bigger and bigger share of the pie.”

“Why? … The ‘middle rich’ might be more reliant on pensions and housing – two categories that have proven soft of late. The very, very rich, on the other hand, might be more reliant on the stock market or corporate earnings.”

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    Another phenomenon concerning this subject has been the often assumed static nature of income groups. Over thirty years ago the NY Times breathlessly reported that the income of the five duo-decals of the income charts showed that the two upper 20%s had risen while the middle had stagnated and the lower two had shrunk as a percentage of the national income. The Times editorialized that this needed to be addressed. A while later, less breathlessly, the Times reported that some economists had shown how individuals often move up and down between groups as they enter the work force, achieve greater responsibility and thus greater income, and then drop back as they retire. This, of course, changed the view of the earlier reporting (and led to the development of life stage financial planning.) For the past seventeen years the IRS has analyzed the top 400 incomes (anonymously) and in that time over 3600 individuals have been in this rarified group with only four showing up every year (wonder who they are?) Thus, even at the top, there is tremendous dynamism and turn over in our economy.

    This recent unfolding set of reports about the relative incomes of different groups (all wealth has accreted to the top 1%, now the top .01% – the IRS’s report on the top 400) – as well as the previous reports in the Times – shows just how initially skeptical one should be of many of these reputedly neutral think tank studies. Wait until the reports have been subject to question before proceeding with attempted corrective legislation.

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    While the crisis in the Ukraine, is newsworthy and important, let us not forget the more than two million unemployed workers, and their families, who had loss their benefits last December, still waiting for the Unemployment Extension Bill to pass in the senate. Since late last December, the Republicans have dragged their feet, and have put off passing the bill, while millions of families have been suffering on account of it. For the first time in many years, the senate failed to extend the benefits for the unemployed, leaving these poor families to suffer eviction, home foreclosures, bankruptcy, and homelessness. Even though the congress quickly approved of Billions of dollars in aid for the Ukraine. How is this possible? How can the republicans justify spending Billions of tax payer’s dollars on foreign aid, yet refuse to help poor Americans at home? These workers were not asking for something that they haven’t already paid into over the course of their working years. These families need help, and need it now. If our country can use tax payer’s money to Bailout Huge Corporations, they should be also capable of giving assistance to those who have worked for it. The problem isn’t with the poor and unemployed in this country, but with the government spending billions of dollars on Corporate welfare and corporation bailouts. What happened after all those bailouts?? The CEO’S rewarded themselves with huge bonuses on the tax payer’s tab. That was the thanks we received from Corporate America for our help. The Republican Party likes to represent their party as being the party for “family values”. But where are their values? Charity should begin at home, and it’s been too long now that these unemployed Americans have been suffering, Senators such as John Boehner, have shown their contempt for the poor and less advantaged in this country, and in the coming elections in 2016, the Republican Party will realize their mistake in not supporting these two million unemployed workers

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