The Wealth-Income Pyramid

Posted By on November 22, 2010

The Problem:  Out of 113 million households, 1/100 of 1% rake in $10 million or more annually. As consumers, the top 5% carry the same weight as the bottom 80%. The top 10% take in 50% of the income. (The sources are listed in Two Americas: The Gap Between the Top 5% and the Bottom 95% Widens August 18, 2010.)

Only the top quintile (top 20%) are really doing well in terms of income, and only the top 5% are prospering in terms of assets and unearned income (non-wage income).

 

This goes a long way to explaining how “consumer spending” can be “recovering” even as the incomes of the bottom 80% stagnate or fall. The top 5% of Americans by income are responsible for 37% of all consumer spending– about the same as the entire bottom 80% by income (39.5%).

David Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, recently noted in an editorial that the top 1% of Americans received two-thirds of the gain in national income from 2002 to 2006.

Over the past 25 years since 1985, the top 1 percent’s share of national income has doubled; in 2007, it netted 23 percent of the nation’s total income. The income of the wealthiest Americans–the top 0.1 percent—has tripled in that 25 year period. This wafer-thin slice of Americans now earn as much as the bottom 120 million people.

Out of 113 million households, 1/100 of 1% rake in $10 million or more annually. As consumers, the top 5% carry the same weight as the bottom 80%. The top 10% take in 50% of the income. (The sources are listed in Two Americas: The Gap Between the Top 5% and the Bottom 95% Widens August 18, 2010.)

www.zerohedge.com

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