The United States is becoming an increasingly severely stratified plutocracy. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities just released a new study proving that the richest 1% are continuing to amass greater and greater amounts of wealth, while the rest of the population is still struggling financially.

 

income inequality chart

 

The organization’s new data was created by Saez and his colleague Thomas Piketty, and it carefully analyzed 2009 and 2010 pre-tax IRS income. Their economic research shows that:

•The share of U.S. households’ total income flowing to the top 1% of those households rose to 19.8% in 2010. Although lower than the peaks reached in 2000 and 2007, that percentage is still among the highest since the late 1920s.

•The average income of the top 1%  of households rose by nearly 12% from 2009 to 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The average income growth for the richest households at the very top of the income distribution was even stronger.

•In contrast, the average income of the bottom 90% of households fell substantially during the recession in both 2008 and 2009, remained at its lowest level since 1983, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Rich Getting Wealthier More Quickly

 

This data illustrates the extreme concentration of income in the hands of just a few bloated plutocrats. Two-thirds of the nation’s total income gains went to only the top 1% in the United States; the wealthiest 1% have now amassed a larger proportion of income than ever.

The rich have also gotten richer at a much faster rate. Astonishingly, in the last decade the income of the top 1% grew over ten times faster than the income of the those of us in the bottom 90%.

income growth

 

Plutocracy Reborn

 

This growing income inequality gap from the last few years makes for a very volatile and unstable economy. It also continues a longer-term wealth distribution trend that began in the late 1970s, and is showing no sign whatsoever of reversing course.

income gains

all images are via cbpp.org