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A snapshot of income disparity

A snapshot of income disparity. Opinion, by Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times (February 24, 2010).

[I]n 1992, the Clinton administration asked the Internal Revenue Service to begin tracking the incomes and tax payments of the country’s 400 richest households. During the George W. Bush years, the IRS continued to collect the data, but — you’ll be shocked to know — didn’t release it to the public.

But the data are now available:

Rutten notes that the IRS figures show that in just one year (2006-2007) “the average income of the country’s 400 top taxpayers rose 31%.” He continues:

That’s all of a piece with trends documented by economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, whose research into global income patterns shows that between 1992 and 2007, America’s 400 richest households increased their average income by 399%, while the bottom 90% of the country’s households gained just 13%. (Those percentages, by the way, reflect inflation-adjusted dollars.)

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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