Showing posts from September, 2009

The Political Consequences of Growing Income Inequality in America

According to a new report released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities , based on an analysis of IRS data by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, the rich are getting richer while the poor... well, you know the rest. Income inequality is not a new phenomenon in American society. But, as Piketty and Saez find, we have not seen such large shares of income go to the nation's top earners in a very long time. "Two-thirds of the nation's total income gains from 2002 to 2007 flowed to the top 1 percent of U.S. households, and that top 1 percent held a larger share of income in 2007 than at any time since 1928," write the authors of the CBPP summary of the Piketty and Saez research. To my astonishment, they add that during this period, "the inflation adjusted income of the top 1 percent of households grew more than ten times faster [my emphasis] than the income of the bottom 90 percent of households." Income inequality has been growing since the