A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.
Note: The 2007 data (the most current) doesn’t reflect the impact of the housing market crash. In 2007, the bottom 60% of Americans had 65% of their net worth tied up in their homes. The top 1%, in contrast, had just 10%. The housing crisis has no doubt further swelled the share of total net worth held by the superrich.
Winners Take All
The superrich have grabbed the bulk of the past three decades’ gains.
Out of Balance
A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable.
Why Washington is closer to Wall Street than Main Street.
|member||max. est. net worth|
|Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)||$451.1 million|
|Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.)||$435.4 million|
|Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.)||$366.2 million|
|Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)||$294.9 million|
|Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)||$285.1 million|
|Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)||$283.1 million|
|Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.)||$231.2 million|
|Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas)||$201.5 million|
|Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)||$136.2 million|
|Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)||$108.1 million|
|combined net worth:||$2.8 billion|
Congressional data from 2009. Family net worth data from 2007. Sources: Center for Responsive Politics; US Census; Edward Wolff, Bard College.
For a healthy few, it’s getting better all the time.
YOUR LOSS,THEIR GAIN
How much income have you given up for the top 1 percent?
Income distribution: Emmanuel Saez (http://www NULL.econ NULL.berkeley NULL.edu/~saez/TabFig2008 NULL.xls)  (Excel)
Net worth: Edward Wolff (http://www NULL.levyinstitute NULL.org/pubs/wp_589 NULL.pdf)  (PDF)
Household income/income share: Congressional Budget Office (http://www NULL.cbo NULL.gov/publications/collections/tax/2010/all_tables NULL.pdf) 
Real vs. desired distribution of wealth: Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely (http://www NULL.people NULL.hbs NULL.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely%20in%20press NULL.pdf)  (PDF)
Net worth of Americans vs. Congress: Federal Reserve (http://www NULL.federalreserve NULL.gov/pubs/oss/oss2/2007/scf2007home NULL.html)  (average); Center for Responsive Politics (http://www NULL.opensecrets NULL.org/pfds/overview NULL.php?type=W&year=2009&filter=C)  (Congress)
Your chances of being a millionaire: Calculation based on data from Wolff (http://www NULL.levyinstitute NULL.org/pubs/wp_589 NULL.pdf)  (PDF); US Census (household (http://factfinder NULL.census NULL.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=&geo_id=01000US&_geoContext=01000US&_street=&_county=&_cityTown=&_state=&_zip=80247&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&_submenuId=factsheet_1&ds_name=DEC_2000_SAFF&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null®=&_keyword=&_industry=)  and population (http://factfinder NULL.census NULL.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-ds_name=PEP_2009_EST&-mt_name=PEP_2009_EST_G2009_T001)  data)
Member of Congress’ chances: Center for Responsive Politics (http://www NULL.opensecrets NULL.org/news/2010/11/congressional-members-personal-weal NULL.html) 
Wealthiest members of Congress: Center for Responsive Politics (http://www NULL.opensecrets NULL.org/pfds/index NULL.php) 
Tax cut votes: New York Times (Senate (http://politics NULL.nytimes NULL.com/congress/votes/111/senate/2/276?ref=politics) ; House (http://politics NULL.nytimes NULL.com/congress/votes/111/house/2/647) )
Wall street profits, 2007-2009: New York State Comptroller (http://osc NULL.state NULL.ny NULL.us/osdc/rpt10-2011 NULL.pdf)  (PDF)
Unemployment rate, 2007-2009: Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www NULL.bls NULL.gov/cps/prev_yrs NULL.htm) 
Home equity, 2007-2009: Federal Reserve, Flow of Funds data, 1995-2004 (http://www NULL.federalreserve NULL.gov/RELEASES/z1/Current/annuals/a1995-2004 NULL.pdf)  and 2005-2009 (http://www NULL.federalreserve NULL.gov/RELEASES/z1/Current/annuals/a2005-2009 NULL.pdf)  (PDFs)
CEO vs. worker pay: Economic Policy Institute (http://www NULL.stateofworkingamerica NULL.org/charts/view/17) 
Historic tax rates: Calculations based on data from The Tax Foundation (http://www NULL.taxfoundation NULL.org/publications/show/151 NULL.html) 
Federal tax revenue: Joint Committee on Taxation (http://www NULL.jct NULL.gov/publications NULL.html?func=startdown&id=3719)  (PDF)Read also: Kevin Drum on the decline of Big Labor, the rise of Big Business, and why the Obama era fizzled so soon. (http://motherjones NULL.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-labor-union-decline) 
More Mother Jones charty goodness: How the rich get richer (http://motherjones NULL.com/politics/2006/05/look-numbers-how-rich-get-richer) ; how the poor get poorer (http://motherjones NULL.com/politics/2006/07/poor-losers) ; who owns Congress? (http://motherjones NULL.com/politics/2010/09/congress-corporate-sponsors) 
Source URL: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph (http://motherjones NULL.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph)