December 12, 2011

"The share of income received by the top 1 percent... dropped to 17 percent in 2009 from 23 percent in 2007..."

... according to federal tax data. 
Within the group, average income fell to $957,000 in 2009 from $1.4 million in 2007....

[T]he drop alters a figure often emphasized by inequality critics, and it has gone largely unnoticed outside the blogosphere.

By focusing on the top 1 percent, the Occupy Wall Street movement has made economic fairness a subject of street protest and political debate.

“It’s very interesting that this has become such a big topic now when the numbers are back to where they were in the 1990s,” said Steven Kaplan, an economist at the University of Chicago’s business school. “People didn’t seem to be complaining about it then.”
What? Occupy Wall Street is not fact-based?!

Yes, yes, I know you're going to drag Obama into this. But what Obama said about OWS was that it reflects "broad-based frustration." He wasn't verifying their facts. Just feeling their pain.

54 comments:

Jason said...

Its funny how many laughs and "yeah right" I get when I tell people that if you make $50K in a year, you are in the top 10% of wage earners in this country.

So many people take what they have for granted, and do nothing but bitch because they dont have as much as the next guy. They dont know how good they have it, when a large percentile of the globe lives under our poverty line.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

$1MM a year is the average for the top 1%.

I would have assumed it was a lot higher. I'm assuming that's the mean, I wonder what the median is.

Anywho, it's very safe to say that I'll be spending x-mas w/ the top half of the top one percent. Which means that comity will require a lot of tongue biting, on my part.

Andy R. said...

What? Occupy Wall Street is not fact-based?!

When and where did Occupy Wall Street say anything different?

GMay said...

But but but, rich got richer and all that noise!
!

Dante said...

@jason, the median income for a household in the US is $50K/year. $150K - $200K is about 93.4%.

The mean income is about $65K/year, according to wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States#Mean_income

traditionalguy said...

We are talking income levels.

Those living on fixed retirement plans from not yet Bankrupt Governments and Corporations are not experiencing a lack of income flowing into their life.

Everybody else, including the investors who before 2008 were doubling their wealth every three years from capital gains, has been smashed by the depression literally mandated by the FED and the FDIC.

bagoh20 said...

So the rich are getting poorer and the poor are getting poorer. OWS would call that progress.

Where did all that money go? Somebody's mattress is bursting at the seams.

Mary Beth said...

Even when I thought he was lying, Clinton seemed more sincere when he felt our pain.

"The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made." - Jean Giraudoux

EDH said...

I found this quote from that Obama press conference linked by Althouse really, really interesting.

"We had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression - huge collateral damage throughout the country, all across main street. And yet, you are still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to crack down on abusive practices that got us in the situation in the first place," Mr. Obama told reporters. "I think people are frustrated."

In a rare moment of candor, is Obama actually admitting that those now "trying to crack down on abusive paractices" are the same people who "got us into the situation in the first place"?

Sounds like he's talking about Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, no?

Chuck66 said...

I believe in equal opportunities, not equal outcomes.

I also see a lot of lower class people who don't really work very hard. Get lots of free stuff.

What is worse, an high income person who worked incredibly hard to get there, or a low income person who has no ambition and does okay with little effort.

edutcher said...

Who was it defined socialism as where the misery was shared equally?

Andy R. said...

What? Occupy Wall Street is not fact-based?!

When and where did Occupy Wall Street say anything different?


Does at least once a day count?

Palladian said...

If they keep blocking the ports, Andy won't be able to get any more crooked caps.

Chuck66 said...

The old saying goes......in a Republican dream world, 10% of the people make $200,000 a year, 90% make $50,000 a year.

In a Democrat dream world, 100% of the people make $30,000 a year.

ex-madtown girl said...

Palladian at 11:06 made me scare my cat when I let lose a hearty guffaw.

PaulV said...

The one percenters suffer the most

PaulV said...

"Unions declined, eroding blue-collar bargaining power..."
Wrong. Unions destroyed good paying private sector jobs by trying to grab too much money. Companies, unable to compete either down sized or went out of business.

Richard said...

Ann, you'll vote for Obama anyway this cycle. I like your blog and all that, but it's your M.O. to criticize , then vote contrary to your criticisms.

Rose said...

Obama feels their pain?

They are his creature. They come from the fevered wet dreams of the Union activists who drive him - it is a construct intended to give him a horse to ride back into office.

But the Frankensteinian Monster has a mind of its own (but no real brain, as evidenced by the pooping on cop cars) - now the #Occupiers are interfering with the Longshoremen, who will be fined if they are late with their deliveries. The #Occupiers say "well, just don't pay it!" Just as they were encouraged to do with their own student loans,

Stephen Lerner's plan. The Unions could not come out front at first. They needed others to do it. "There's PLENTY of money! They have it. It's ours. We can get it."

The meme surfaced in Wisconsin, delayed because Beck outed them, playing Lerner's tape. The original target was JP Morgan Chase. Michael Moore floated the meme in Wisconsin...

DO NOT be fooled. This is OFA. WFP - all the Obama stormtroopers. And though it is now mocked, it is going to reconstitute.

They WILL have their Kent State moment. And he is waiting for the moment.

Ralph L said...

comity will require a lot of tongue biting, on my part
If they're drug dealers or pimps or Bill Gates, maybe you shouldn't go. Otherwise, remember the 10th Commandment and that contentment with a lowly station is a Christian virtue.

You could always steal a spoon.

Penny said...

"Broad based frustration"...

Yeah, so the womens are griping again.

Time to get 'em "grippin'", gents.

Penny said...

And pancakes!

Carnifex said...

@Rose

And this administration has already proved it will manufacture its own crisis' ala Fast and Furious. And if caught, well, Bush did it first.

I am still expecting the one to declare a National Emergency, and either cancel elections, or refuse to transfer power to the new winner. It was always the case for socialist/marxist.

They've already claimed the right to execute Americans without a trial vis a vis Awlawaki(?). Just need to declasre someone a terrorist and send a hell fire missile up their ass.

And Jennie Nepolitano has called people who have more than 7 days of food on hand a borderline revolutionary.

I don;t care what party these people they are from, but for you people to sit back and not recognize their inherent evil is astounding.

Yes , I used the term evil. Because as the man once pointed out, if it were just incompetence then they would occasionally to some good for the country.

I'm sure you'll point to the execution of Osama as a ocunterpoint. I don't believe the Zero had anything to do with it. After all, we have seen the pictures of him in his real working clothes(his golf outfit), looking pissed while the whole thing went down. I believe Panetta actually okayed the raid without the One's permission.

Old axiom is that its easier to seek forgiveness than permission.

@pbandjFellowRepublican

If you don't like the company you keep, be a man about it and change your company. Sounds like bullshit to me.

Robert Cook said...

Also from the article:

"Analysts say the drop largely reflects the stock market plunge, and most think top incomes recovered somewhat in 2010, as Wall Street rebounded and corporate profits grew.

"...Harry J. Holzer, an economist at Georgetown University, argues much of the recent growth at the top reflects insider privilege instead of real productivity. 'The notion that the really high earners are earning it has become very questionable,' he said. 'Look at outrageousness of the damage they imposed on the rest of the economy and the cost being born by middle-income Americans.'

“'There’s been rising income inequality all over the world, but nowhere as much as in the United States,' he said."

rhhardin said...

Scapegoating works, even as witchcraft and sorcery have fallen into disrepute.

Obama and his magic ward.

rhhardin said...

Everybody who makes money does it by leaving somebody else better off.

Except those who make money off of government ties. Called rent seeking.

The more the government regulates, the more rent seeking.

The private sector responds to incentives, not morality.

Without government, incentives align with pleasing customers more than the other guy does. With government, incentives align with payoffs for favors.

The public sector responds to incentives not morality too. They take payoffs.

Which is why you want fewer power centers, even aside from another efficiency fact:

Knowledge is dispersed, so it's bad when power is centralized.

Prices, left alone, organize dispersed knowledge on their own.

Prices, left alone, also produce large inequality, as they organize the work of the particular ones with the talents called for at the time.

Those thrive by leaving others better off than anybody else.

phx said...

"Analysts say the drop largely reflects the stock market plunge, and most think top incomes recovered somewhat in 2010, as Wall Street rebounded and corporate profits grew."

Ron said...

So they chose to defer capital gains because the market was down is not evidence that OWS is wrong.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Dante said...

@jason, the median income for a household in the US is $50K/year. $150K - $200K is about 93.4%.

While I am not verifying Jason's numbers, I believe he was referring to individual, not household, income, and probably also differentiating between earned and unearned income.

Xmas said...

Actually, this is a good reason not to increase taxes on the top 1%. Their revenue is too variable (unpredictable) and too easily deferred and manipulated. Your expected gains from increasing taxes on the "rich" are likely not going to appear.

If the federal government wants to ensure an increase in revenue, they'll need to broaden the tax base.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Income inequality is tied to skillset inequality.

Income inequality in Europe is offset by confiscatory taxed which, ironically enough, have done nothing to forestall their massive debt crisis.

Lyssa said...

Can somebody please tell me how this effects my life - the 1 percent having more or less? I've never understood why I'm supposed to be upset about people who have more money then me.

Paco Wové said...

One of the things I really dislike about OWS is how it has managed to thoroughly muddy the waters by conflating anger at unethical and/or illegal practices at large financial institutions with a generalized seething envy of the rich. (Or a generalized dislike of non-command economies. Go ahead and hang Jon Corzine if you want; I'll chip in for the rope! But if you tell me that shutting down the economy is somehow good for the country, well, bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit.)

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... I've never understood why I'm supposed to be upset about people who have more money then me..."

Because most people give up that emotion once they've grown beyond childhood.

John said...

One of the problems with the OWSers and their ilk, including people who should know better is a failure to distinguish between income and wealth.

Many wealthy people have relatively low income. Many high income earners have relatively low wealth.

Warren Buffett is a great example. Up through the 90's, perhaps beyond, pretty much his only income was his salary from Berkshire Hathaway. This was, IIRC, $100-$150m/yr.

So was he high income? Not really. A family of 2 schoolteachers in Wisconsin probably made more.

He was fabulously wealthy, though. Typically in the top 2-3 in the US with dozens of billion$.

The reason for his low income is that all his wealth was in B-H and B-H, as a matter of policy, has never paid dividends.

A farmer that works all his life may have a decent, though not high, income. However, since he is paying off the land and improvements, he is building up wealth.

At 65 he retires, sells the farm for $20mm (after tax)and suddenly he is rich.

He could choose to live off his capital with no taxable income. So wealthy, but based on income would qualify for food stamps and public housing.

Until people start distinguishing between "wealth", which generally pays no taxes at all, and "income" on which most taxes are based, all these arguments about inequality are silly.

Inequality of what?

John Henry

John said...

rhhardin said...

Everybody who makes money does it by leaving somebody else better off.

When I was starting in sales years ago I used to listen to a lot of Zig Ziglar tapes. He made millions selling pots and pans door to door. I figured he knew what he was doing. I still think that and still recommend him.

He would say frequently, almost to the point of sounding like a broken record:

"You can get everything you want if you just help enough other people get what they want."

Still seems true.

Still seems like the essence of capitalism.

John Henry

AJ Lynch said...

Cookie: Your expert, Holzer, may be an economist but, from the college;s website, he sounds like just another poverty pimp:

"Harry Holzer joined the Georgetown Public Policy Institute as Professor of Public Policy in the Fall of 2000. He served as Associate Dean from 2004 through 2006 and was Acting Dean in the Fall of 2006. He is also currently a Senior Research Fellow at the American Institutes for Research, a Senior Affiliate at the Urban Institute, a Senior Affiliate of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, a National Fellow of the Program on Inequality and Social Policy at Harvard University, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a Research Affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is also a faculty director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy. "

John said...

Re my note on Buffettt

$100-150m = $100,000 - $150,000

John Henry

Michael said...

Lyssa: you have it exactly right. Back in the olden times there were ten rules set down of which more than one dealt with it being wrong to covet what someone else has. To violate one of these rules was know as committing a "sin.". Isnt that an interesting concept? Also, the writer of those rules knew that if you did not covet something someone else had you were not likely to violate another of the ten rules, the rule against stealing. Ditto other peoples wives or husbands.

Liberals think those ten rules are stupid on stilts and do everything at their command to undermine them and to ensure they are not taught. And then they try and fix what happens next by making up new rules that are not quite as clear as the ten.

Henry said...

EDH wrote, Sounds like he's talking about Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, no?

Or his own Treasury department.

Paco Wové wrote, One of the things I really dislike about OWS is how it has managed to thoroughly muddy the waters by conflating anger at unethical and/or illegal practices at large financial institutions with a generalized seething envy of the rich.

When Occupy activists started targeting retail bank branches, rather than investment banks, the muddy water turned to quicksand. This was always one of the fundamental problems with Occupy Your City. Regional banks and retail branches of national banks were not the problem. But in Des Moines, who else is there?

Marshal said...

Robert Cook said...

“'There’s been rising income inequality all over the world, but nowhere as much as in the United States,' he said."

The recession is the resolution for what you believe is the main problem we face. Why aren't you touting its wonderfulness?

Peter said...

‘bagoh20’ said, “So the rich are getting poorer and the poor are getting poorer. OWS would call that progress.”

Well, it does mean the “wealth gap” (or at least the income gap) is narrowing.”

“Where did all that money go? Somebody's mattress is bursting at the seams.”

The money never existed- it was created with debt.

Much of it was created with money loaned on inflated house values. When the values crashed the loans went bad, and the federal government borrowed $zillions (mostly from foreigners) to cover most of the losses.

So, some of us spent money we hadn't yet earned, and now we all have to pay it back.

Lyssa said...

Michael said: Back in the olden times there were ten rules set down of which more than one dealt with it being wrong to covet what someone else has. To violate one of these rules was know as committing a "sin.".

Dave Ramsey (radio finance guy who's also very religious) says that there's a difference between "jealousy" and "envy." Jealousy is good- you look at what other people have and say "I want that too, so I'll work to make it happen." But envy is bad - you say "That person has something that I don't, and I don't want them to have it."

I don't know if that's semantically correct, but I've always loved that distinction.

machine said...

Gingrich Tax Plan: Makes it the law of the land that taxes for the 1% are lower than those for the middle class.

Agree?

Fen said...

Cook: There’s been rising income inequality all over the world, but nowhere as much as in the United States,' he said.

There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.

The trouble with the maples,
(And they're quite convinced the're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light.
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made.
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade.

There is trouble in the Forest,
And the Creatures all have fled,
As the Maples scream Oppression!,
And the Oaks just shake their heads.

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
"These oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light."
Now there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.


- Rush, The Trees

That is Cook's socialist solution - to make us all "equally" miserable. Except for the Party Elites of course. I'm reminded of Muscovites throwing their own furniture on the fire to survive the winter, because Politburo Elites redirected timber resources to build dachas on the Black Sea coast.

Fen said...

Maybe Cook thinks he'll be in the Inner Circle of the Party Elite. Vouchers to oop out of ObamaCare, cronyism to handle the rest. He'll be the guy passing us in his limo on his way to a Kobe Beef banquet while we peddle our bicycles furiously to get in line at the local deli before all the cabbage and potatoes are sold out.

Fen said...

/edit

Vouchers to opt out of ObamaCare,

Seeing Red said...

Nothing more than feudalism, except with better dental & healthcare.


Less income, less taxes paid on that income, what to do, what to do.

Seeing Red said...

Holzer - part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Pissed that he has to get grants, if only they could see his brilliance. Plus DC is an expensive city, takes a lot of cash.


Greg Mankiw's blog has a link to a discussion on inequality:


A recording of a recent panel at Harvard's Kennedy School, including my economics department colleagues Larry Katz and Ed Glaeser. It takes over a hour.


I'm only 1/2 hour in including introductions and I want to put my fist thru the screen and bitchslap them all.

What's really interesting tho, is the female's input. IMHO it can be summed up by a study done a little over 30 years ago on how to stay out of poverty:

get a hs diploma, don't get married until after the age of 20, don't have kids until after you're married.

A lot of poverty comes from single mothers.

Who caused this? The people like them with the credentials they have.


Who knew the nuclear family is better for kids and the country?

Methadras said...

He wasn't verifying their facts. Just feeling their pain.

Just like Bill Clinton does. How affable it is to feel ones pain when you are the nerve center from whence that pain originates.

wv = spinco = Urkel

jamboree said...

A lot of retired folks are feeling the pinch too - those who are surviving on fixed income investments rather than pensions have been hit hard with the artificially low interest / free money to the large financials.

epobirs said...

Broad based frustration? I suppose but it seems that most of those OWS types are dudes.

Seerak said...

One of the things I really dislike about OWS is how it has managed to thoroughly muddy the waters by conflating anger at unethical and/or illegal practices at large financial institutions with a generalized seething envy of the rich.

This. The former is the hook, the latter is the payload. It's a rerun of Leftist movements throughout history, with profoundly predictable trajectories.

Now go tell it to this dimwit and the others like him who keep talking about "common ground" with OWS.

Don M said...

The common measure of income dispersion/inequality is the Gini Coefficient aka Gini Index or Gini Ratio. It can be calculated for individuals as well as for households.

You can find it for various countries on the CIA World Fact Book.

Gini index of 1 is someone has all the income, and noone else has any. Gini index of 0 is everyone has exactly the same amount of income.

US individual Gini index has been unchanged, at about 0.5, for 20 years.

US household Gini index has been increasing. That doesn't mean rich people have more money, it means that rich people have been taking increasing the number of people in their homes, reducing the number of poor households, and increasing the income of the multi-earner households.

Moral: If you marry or cohabitate with someone with a job, you move the Gini Index up, and the Democrats will use that as rationale to raise taxes.

Milwaukee said...

Richard said...
Ann, you'll vote for Obama anyway this cycle. I like your blog and all that, but it's your M.O. to criticize , then vote contrary to your criticisms.


I believe a "duh" is in order here. (Sorry, I usually try not to be so rude.) Professor Althouse is more contrarian* than conservative. No doubt whenever the Republicans get around to nominating a candidate, she will perceive some flaw in that candidate to justify her voting for 0bama, again. Many of those commenting are conservative, she just keeps the conversation going by her choice of topics to post.

*The opposite of that Captain in Casablanca: he went with the flow, Ann goes against it. But her position as a law school professor allows her such a luxury.