The bottom line?
U.S. income inequality has hit a record high:
Professor Saez’s numbers go through 2007. Judging from what happened after the last recession, income disparity will likely ease in 2008 and 2009 as the richest 10% of Americans get clobbered by stock and house wealth destruction.
Excluding the temporary effect of the recession, however, Professor Saez believes that the trend toward greater inequality is likely to continue unless the government implements radical policy changes–such as those that developed during the Great Depression. The Great Depression changes, it should be noted, reduced income disparity for nearly 50 years, until it began climbing again during the Reagan years.
Here are some more exhibits:
Share of Income Going To Top 10%
And the relative growth of the top 1% and bottom 99% during the Bush and Clinton years:
Professor Saez’s updated summary paper:
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