I’ve been saying it for a long time, but now the statistics are proving it to be true. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It’s a trend that has been developing for decades.
So how does American feel about it?
So what should be done about income disparity? In an April Gallup poll, 68% of respondents said wealth “should be more evenly distributed” in the U.S. — the highest percentage saying so since Gallup started asking the question in 1984. A smaller majority, 51%, agreed that “heavy taxes on the rich” were needed.
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THE OTHER 99% OF AMERICA COULD REALLY USE A RAISE
If you feel as if you’ve been going backward, you haven’t been imagining it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median American family made $58,407 in 2006. That’s $991 less, when you adjust for inflation, than the median in 2000, and indications are that things haven’t gotten any better in 2007 or this year.
Recessions — like the one in 2001 and the one we might be in now — always reduce incomes. The problem since 2000 is that even when the economy was growing, the fruits of that growth landed almost exclusively in the pockets of the wealthiest Americans. According to economists Thomas Piketty and Emanuel Saez, 75% of all income gains from 2002 to ’06 went to the top 1% — households making more than $382,600 a year.