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Bottom 90 Percent of Americans Saw Income Grow by $59 Over 40 Years

David Cay Johnston, for Tax Analysts, found that the income for the bottom 90 percent of Americans increased by just $59 on average from 1966 to 2011, even when you adjust the income for inflation.

Johnston also found that during the same time frame, the average income for the top 10 percent of Americans increased by $116,071. When Johnston talked to Alternet, he compared the increase using inches. If the $59 increase equals one inch, the incomes of the top 10 percent in the country increased by 168 feet.

Here is what Johnston told Alternet:

“From 1966 – when Lyndon Johnson was president — to 2011, 45 years later, the bottom 90 percent of Americans’ average income, as reported on tax returns, went up by a stunning $59 — almost no change at all. If you measure that $59 increase for the vast majority of Americans as one inch, then on the same scale, the incomes of those in the top 10 percent went up by 168 feet. The top one percent, 888 feet. The plutocrats — the Mitt Romney crowd, the top one percent of the top one percent? Their incomes rose by almost five miles relative to that one inch.”



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A study from the Congressional Budget Office in 2011 found that the income for the bottom fifth of Americans increased by 20 percent from 1979 to 2007. During the same time frame, incomes for the top one percent of the country increased by a staggering 275 percent.

Josh Bivens, from the Economic Policy Institute, said that the six heirs to the fortune of Walmart have a net worth equivalent to the bottom 41.5 percent of the country combined in 2010. A report from IMF in 2011 said that stronger income equality is associated with stronger economic growth.

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Posted by on March 26, 2013. Filed under Business News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Andy Fox

    The bottom 90% of incomes are comprised of part time workers, mostly teenagers. Talk about lies, damn lies and statistics. Quintile analysis needs to be kept in context.

    Why does anyone care that rich get rich? The economy is not a zero sum game. There is room for everyone. Throughout the course of my life, I have been in each quintile. Yes, I am in the top 20% now, by the grace of God. When I was 23 and out of college, I made $19,656 at my first job. When I was in law school (went back to school after 2 years) I made a lot less.

    This is a bunch of egalitarian nonsense.

  • Jacob Jones

    I’m not sure how Mr. Johnston’s income has increased much throughout this period of time because, though a tax analyst, he apparently cannot do math.

    Using his numbers:

    $116071 / $59 / 12 inches per foot = 163.9 ft. of 10% per 1 inch of 90%. Not 168 ft.

    Even with conservative rounding assumptions:

    $116071.49 / $58.5 / 12 inches per foot = 165.3 ft.

    One loses credibility this way. If one chooses to use precise numbers, as here, then those numbers should at least be right.

 

 

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