dollar_40A comprehensive new analysis of the latest US income data finds that:

  • “While total reported income in the United States increased almost 9 percent in 2005… average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent dipped slightly compared with the year before, dropping $172, or 0.6 percent.”
  • “…the top 1 percent of Americans—those with incomes that year of more than $348,000—receiving their largest share of national income since 1928… The top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, also reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression.”
  • “The gains went largely to the top 1 percent, whose incomes rose to an average of more than $1.1 million each, an increase of more than $139,000, or about 14 percent.”

In truth, the analysis almost certainly understates real income disparities, something the authors readily admit. For one thing, the study relies on IRS data, which does not completely capture business and investment income—largely a province of the wealthy. For another, it overlooks the continued erosion of benefits and government services—health care, child care, education benefits, retirement, and the like—items that are far more critical to the middle class than to the affluent.

Just one word for you, middle class: “bootstraps.”

Think about it.