Income Gap Grows

In America today the middle class continues to shrink with millions of working families struggling to keep their heads above water. A new analysis of IRS tax data found that income inequality grew significantly in 2005, the most recent year figures were available. The top 1 percent of Americans those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 had the largest share of national income since 1928. The share of income for the roughly 10 percent with earnings of more than $100,000 was greater than at any time since before the Great Depression. Average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent fell from the year before by $172. Congress must finally summon the courage to stand up to the wealthy and powerful, rescind the tax breaks President Bush provided for the upper 1 percent and adequately fund the needs of our children, seniors, veterans and the disappearing middle class.The new study found that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. The top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned. The disparity is nearly double what the gap was in 1980, according to the study of Internal Revenue Service records by Professor Emmanuel Saez, of the University of Calirornia Berkeley, and Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics. They said the growing disparities were significant in terms of social and political stability. "If the economy is growing but only a few are enjoying the benefits, it goes to our sense of fairness," Professor Saez told The New York Times.

  • Read the study: http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/pikettyqje.pdf
  • Read summaries of the new study prepared by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Read The New York Times Article
  • Read about the Bernie Sanders National Priorities Act
  • To read the senator's floor statement click here.