In 2010, total national income increased by some $288 billion. As economist Emmanuel Saez noted last month, that amounted to a growth in average real income per family of 2.3 percent.
Not bad, right? Welllllll…..
Remember that joke about Bill Gates walking into a bar and raising the average net worth of bar patrons to $6 billion? That’s what’s happening here, because as Saez also notes:
“Top 1% incomes grew by 11.6% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.2%. Hence, the top 1% captured 93% of the income gains in the first year of recovery. Such an uneven recovery can help explain the recent public demonstrations against inequality. It is likely that this uneven recovery has continued in 2011 as the stock market has continued to recover. National Accounts statistics show that corporate profits and dividends distributed have grown strongly in 2011 while wage and salary accruals have only grown only modestly. Unemployment and non-employment have remained high in 2011.”
Again, 93 percent of income growth went to 1 percent of the population; 99 percent of the population split the remaining 7 percent. I do not believe that over the long haul such a maldistribution of wealth can sustain a country with the values, traditions and economic structure of the United States.
– Jay Bookman