It’s common to hear in political rhetoric these days, especially coming from the left, and the right calling it class warfare. The idea, or fact, that the gap between the middle class and the wealthiest people of society has grown to all time size. Income inequality. I’m just bringing you the numbers that have been tossed around, they are from Foreign Affairs magazine which is really the think tank Council of Foreign Relations. I know this isn’t a foreign policy issue but none the less they cover domestic topics as well.
After 1976 up to 2006, middle class Americans have seen their income after taxes increase 21%. The poorest have seen their incomes rise by only 11%. The top 1% however, have seen their incomes rise by 256%. This puts the top 1% at 23% of all U.S. income, which is the highest share since 1928.
Further more, in the 1970s, a company’s top executives earned 40 times more than their lowest paid employees. In 2007, at the height of the bubble, the top executives earned over 400 times more than the lowest paid.
This information came from a great essay article from Foreign Affairs magazine, The Broken Contract written by George Packer. It chronicles the recent history of a declining social contract and what led us to the political status quo of a bought government and a huge inequality of wealth. You can read it here, I uploaded into my Google documents as an online PDF, enjoy.