Straight Talk
September 26, 2009

Study shows a stunning gap between U.S. rich and poor

By Charlie Smith

The rich have left the poor far behind in the United States.

That's according to data posted on the Web site of the National Union of Public and General Employees.

It shows that the top one percent of income earners obtained two-thirds of the income gains between 2002 and 2007.

The gap between the top one percent of income earners and the bottom 90 percent is greater than at any time since 1928, according to the NUPGE.

The data came from an analysis of Internal Revenue Service Records by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez.

Here's some of the other information that appears on the union site:

2007 marked the fifth straight year in which income gains at the top outpaced those of the rest of the population.

The proportionate share of the nation’s total income going to the top 1% of households also rose sharply, from 16.9% in 2002 to 23.5% in 2007. This was a larger share than at any time since 1928. (In 2000, at the peak of the 1990s boom, the top 1% took home 21.5% of total national income.)

Income gains have been even more shocking among those at the extreme top of the income scale.

The incomes of the top 1/10th of 1% of U.S. households grew by 94% or by $3.5 million between 2002 and 2007.

The overall share of the total national income flowing to the top 1/10th of 1% rose from 7.3% in 2002 to 12.3% in 2007.

These are the most lopsided figures in Piketty-Saez data going back to 1913, surpassing even the previous peak in 1928. ... h-and-poor