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.”
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.