Here is an interesting interactive tool that lets you look at different year ranges based upon societal gains in income, and how they got distributed.

Fascinating to see the shift over the past century:

>

1917-81: Bottom 90% captured 69% of income gains

>

1982-2000: Bottom 90% captured 23% of income gains

>

2001-2008: Bottom 90% had income losses (negative gains)

http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/pages/interactive#/

Category: Data Analysis, Digital Media, Wages & Income

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

46 Responses to “Income Gain Distribution 1917-81; 1982-2000; 2001-08”

  1. stonedwino says:

    Anyone still questioning the motives of Occupy Wall Street…here is your answer in color, as plain as day. Throughout documented history, whenever income inequality has surged in any nation to the levels we see again here in the US, while at the same time there was a large, educated, unemployed, unhappy youth, it always ends up very badly for those of the ruling class…always…at this point in time, it would be wise to know your history and consequences…

  2. Gene-OK says:

    FYI, in case anyone wonders where this information comes from.

    The website stateofworkingamerica.org is owned by Economic Policy Institute; is a 501(c)(3) corporation. In 2005 through 2009, a majority of their funding (about 53%) was in the form of foundation grants, while another 29% came from labor unions. EPI also receives support from individuals, corporations, and other organizations. (Including a Soros organization to some degree…)

    The original data in the charts are from Emmanuel Saez’s website at University of California, Berkeley. Methodology is described. I leave consenting adults to decide whether they agree with the assumptions.

    I am simply loath to accept this type of information at face value without doing some perfunctory checking of the sources. As always, your mileage may vary.

  3. yyz84 says:

    Thanks Gene,

    Remember when empirical data conflicts with your predetermined world view, don’t provide data that proves it is wrong, no no no, (for that is impossible because this is reality) just attack the character of the source since you know the only way this empirical data can exist is if there is some secrete socialist plot from our nations greatest boogeyman the UC University System AWAWAWAWAWWWWW

    Yeah so Gene you see the rest of us 99% are tired of your trash, and we have listened to your trash for the last 30 years, your trash has been given center stage on every news network every single night, and you know what, it is still trash and we are taking the trash out.

    Either embrace reality or get out of the way, because the false reality you thugs have manipulated for the last 30 years is coming down.

  4. James Cameron says:

    Methodology is described. I leave consenting adults to decide whether they agree with the assumptions.

    So . . . do you have an issue with his data or approach?

  5. wunsacon says:

    “They earned it. It’s ‘theft’ to take it away!”

  6. wunsacon says:

    “If you don’t let them keep it, they’ll stop contributing/creating. And no one else will take their place.”

  7. dh2212 says:

    “earned it” is an interesting idea, crony boards agreeing to increase the pay packages of their buddies at rates much higher rates than the “workers” while neither of their responsibilities or roles have changed is an way to explain earning it. Most CEO’s are stewards, nothing more, overpaid with the main goal being not to screw things up.

  8. Gene-OK says:

    @Jame Cameron

    Neither. Like I said, I like to ferret out where the data comes from. As is always the case in economic studies, the devil is usually in the assumptions. This sort of data may be used for policy decisions that affect us all very deeply in the future. It’s good to know whether we are looking at data that overstates the thesis, understates the thesis or is spot on. As you know, politicians and populists tendencies have a habit of overreacting (prohibition, Viet Nam and Iraq come to mind). Perhaps, if everyone knows exactly where the data comes from (a respected economist in many circles, even though I disagree with some of his positions), how it is transformed or smoothed (a generic statement regarding scientific propensity to transform data so it is more easily visualized), then we may have a cooler debate of the issues and solutions rather than hot headed sound bites with no one listening.

    I am chemist and software developer, not an economist. I have a tendency to look at the data as if it is undergoing peer review for publication. I am always a bit leery of data and methods that haven’t been reviewed by 5 or 6 disparate peers. When data is mentioned as being taken from a personal web site, I always wonder if it can be audited, how are the percentiles calculated and what other factors (e.g. imputed income, etc.) are considered and has anybody else verified the data?

  9. BusSchDean says:

    One of my economist colleagues once told me that he didn’t care about income distribution as long as the economy experienced growth. We need to rethink how we teach economics.

    In some ways it really doesn’t matter if the charts above are exactly accurate — though they certainly are stunning.

    We know what has happened to income distribution over the last 30 years so gains had to have gone disproportionately to a very small group at the high end.

    The issue of whether they earned it or not is interesting. In an earlier comment to a BR post someone argued that CEOs and other executives of major firms get paid so much because there are few people who can handle organizations this large. If true then we have a serious demand/supply imbalance that motivates those in these positions or pursuing them to keep the organizations large.

  10. James Cameron says:

    In an earlier comment to a BR post someone argued that CEOs and other executives of major firms get paid so much because there are few people who can handle organizations this large.

    The argument from CEOs is blatantly hypocritical and self-serving. As has been pointed out here and elsewhere, these people stack the deck to obtain results like this:

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/10/ratcheting-up-ceo-pay-with-peer-comparison/

    And that colleague might rethink his position if his own income and life style took a long-term turn for the worse, as it has for many people.

  11. BusSchDean says:

    JC: Of course you are right on both points. I changed universities and sometimes do wonder what he now thinks, but not enough to email or ask him. Even before the crisis his position was un-defendable.

  12. gusgus says:

    I love the figures and the message, but there are errors in how the endpoints are handled. The chosen periods are 1917-1981, 1982-2000 and 2001-2008. But what about 1981-1982 and 2000-2001, which are not included in any of the three epochs? It’s a simple problem to fix.

  13. AlexM says:

    Gene,

    Did you really say that you need this info to be peer reviewed by 5 or 6 disparate parties before you can believe it? This is just a compilation of statistics, not some scientific break through that needs peer review. More class warfare?

    You revealed yourself when you noted that the study was funded by labor unions, George Soros, and that hot bed of commie pinko socialist liberalism, Berkeley.

    Of course, in your world view none of these sources could ever be credible. The only thing that was left out was the trashing of Comrade Pelosi, and the Kenyan born Obama, other wise known as “The Socialist”, who actually is to the right of the Republican darling, Chris Christie.

    You would not believe this study if it came from Eric Cantor and was funded by Hermain Cain’s pizza money.

    I am sure that all of your preconceived notions have been vetted by no less than 6 disparate peers, yes?

  14. minessence says:

    “De Waal’s work at the Yerkes Primate Center at Emory University in Atlanta has shown an aversion to inequality in non-human primates, drawing an evolutionary link between how humans and monkeys make decisions.

    “Humans reject inequality, too, even if it means walking away empty-handed.” Economy of the Mind: http://www.minessence.net/Articles/Neuroeconomics.pdf

  15. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Damn. The chart(s) show just how good the top 10% have always had it in the US, but it just wasn’t good enough for them. Check when the real disparity started: Just as the movement toward deregulation and a fiat-based credit economy (and maybe coincidentally, away from liberalism), began under Ronald Reagan (and thanks to Nixon’s depegging of the dollar from gold). And make no mistake: We GAVE it away. We traded the prosperity that resulted from the struggles of our grandparents for magic beans.

    That said, other than the satisfaction of one’s wonkish nature, does methodology in data collection really matter when the result is clear for all to see? Is there any denying that the middle class grew during the periods indicated, or that it is being crushed over the past 3 decades?

  16. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    In addition to the figures shown, it is clear that huge bonuses were paid in the financial industry in the years preceding its collapse which were based on highly exaggerated corporate income figures. Financial industry CEO reported such huge “profits” that finance grew from a small part of the S&P 500 to become it’s largest part. The experience of the years since the collapse have shown that these profits were bogus. Of course the executives who drove their companies into near or actual bankruptcy haven’t returned these ill-gotten payments.

    Has anyone done a restatement of the US GSP and profit levels for the first decade of this century after determining what the true sales and income figures were for the financial industry, including hedge funds, and the housing industry? Even without good figures it becomes apparent that much of the economic recovery in the years after 9/11 was just smoke and mirrors. The anemic growth in employment, much of which was hiring people to build houses that now sit vacant, shows that our real economy wasn’t doing all that well. People endlessly discuss the impact of China on our employment rates, but I suspect all the jobs related to giving bad loans and building houses that people either planned to “flip” or else couldn’t afford had at least as big an impact.

  17. Bill in SF says:

    @gusgus

    Those are just three example time periods. Copy and paste the link at the bottom and go to the actual website. You can then set any epoch you desire. Enjoy!

  18. scottinnj says:

    It’s not just Wall Street. Look at the recently fired CEO of HP. I think everyone agrees he was a useless moron – fails spectacularly – and gets $10m for what? John Paulson is nothing more than a gambler – but he did gamble on the right side admittedly.

  19. GrafSchweik says:

    Gene-OK –

    You must be relatively late to this info; it’s been around in one form or another for quite some time. Check out Kevin Phillips’ ‘Wealth And Democracy’, ‘American Theocracy’ and ‘Bad Money’ for a former Rightwinger’s analysis. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

  20. bear_in_mind says:

    Petey Wheatstraw: Excellent summation!

    As for Gene-OK, your knee-jerk references to Soros and UC Berkeley do cause one’s eyebrows to raise about the sincerity of your comments. It does smack of trying to “poison the well.”

    It’s a given that the construct of any chart or table is done with the intention of communicating a particular viewpoint. Everyone knows that data can be “cherry-picked” to persuade on one side of an argument while ignoring the implications of other possible conclusions. So digging around the actual data set can be a valuable exercise to determine the validity and reliability of reported findings. That said, the authors of this research (and their data) has been in the public domain for a number of years and I have yet to see an honest, accurate refutation of their work.

    So Gene-OK, if you can point out some research that has met your peer review criteria and directly refutes the work of Piketty and Saez, please do contribute it to the discussion. As Tom Bodett of Motel 6 famously said, “We’ll keep the light on for you.”

  21. gman says:

    “peer review” or just from Heritage or AEI.
    You know them the from the “Bush tax cut will pay for themselves” Saddam behind 911/wmd. Dow 36k. No housing bubble, later the CRA/FNM caused the bubble that wasn’t. More recently “crowding out hyperinflation” Those are the opinions the gene-OK DOES NOT need peer reviewed

  22. adamsdc says:

    if you accept the chart at face value, the steepest increase in the disparity was during the Clinton years and the dotcom bubble before it burst. The decline began during the Clinton recession. Any gains during the Bush II years were wiped out even though the chart does not go that far.

  23. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Thanks, b.i.m.

  24. Futuredome says:

    The steepiest decline came during the “Clinton” recession. Pffft, considering 4 years of rapid economic growth, that was some recession. Considering the decline didn’t even go all the way back down, is that you Mr. Bush?

    I am seeing signs of wage inflation pushing globally, meaning the age of global wage arbitage is over. We are entering a new phase.

  25. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Futuredome:

    Those last two camel humps are a reflection of the loss of government control (lack of law enforcement and deregulation)/Fed malfeasance. The transfer of wealth to the top percentages has taken two bites of the apple, and, if not checked, will come back for a third.

    While the end of wage arbitrage is good, I don’t think it will help the US middle class return to growth (in numbers or income levels), and it won’t bring back our manufacturing base.

  26. lalaland says:

    Since the growth in income for the top 1% matches the rise/fall in the DJIA and S&P almost exactly, is there any possibility that around 1981 something changed the dynamic that lead to large stockholders enjoying incredible price appreciation and only the wealthy have access to it? I’m thinking mutual funds, endowments, etc tend to hold on to those assets (or they get shuffled from one to another), middle income doesn’t have them; only the top 1% is really tapping stocks as a liquid asset? Maybe money pouring in from emerging economies are driving up stock prices after 1980 and top 1% just happen to own 80% of stocks, etc.

    I’m sure I’ll get pilloried for my naivete but the correlation is pretty substantial so wondering what the answer is if I’m totally off base.

  27. bear_in_mind says:

    Dear AdamsDC: No offense, but you might wanna invest in a little more curiosity or some reading specs.

    Between 1980-88 during Saint Ronald the Great, average income grew by $4,861 with the Top 10 percent receiving 93 percent of those gains.

    From 1988-92 during Pappy Bush, average income fell by $2,319 with the Bottom 90 percent absorbing 63 percent of that loss.

    From 1992-2000 during William the Sinner, average income grew by $13,682 with the Top 10 percent receiving 70 percent of those gains.

    From 2000-2008 during Sonny Bush (i.e. Shrub), average income fell by $4,510 with the Bottom 90 percent absorbing 60 percent of that loss.

    But what’s really, really, really interesting is if you make one teeny shift and sample from the years 2001-2007, average income grew by $5,538, with the Top 10 percent receiving 98 percent of those gains.

    Hmm.. not that the Bush/Cheney tax cuts were aimed at benefitting the rich or anything like that…

  28. bear_in_mind says:

    One other observation: if you look at the gains from 1995-2000 for the Top 10 percent, I suspect the majority of it came from capital gains with the DotCom bubble, in contrast to the huge increase for the Top 10 percent from 2001-07 which largely came from changes in the tax code.

  29. Sabertooth says:

    “FYI, in case anyone wonders where this information comes from.

    The website stateofworkingamerica.org is owned by Economic Policy Institute; is a 501(c)(3) corporation. In 2005 through 2009, a majority of their funding (about 53%) was in the form of foundation grants, while another 29% came from labor unions. EPI also receives support from individuals, corporations, and other organizations. (Including a Soros organization to some degree…)

    The original data in the charts are from Emmanuel Saez’s website at University of California, Berkeley. Methodology is described. I leave consenting adults to decide whether they agree with the assumptions.
    I am simply loath to accept this type of information at face value without doing some perfunctory checking of the sources. As always, your mileage may vary.”

    Your red herring attempt above is so pathetic that it reminds me of the comedy film: Billy Madison …and to paraphrase…

    Gene-OK, what you’ve stated, is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever read. At no point, in your rambling, incoherent response, were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this message board is now dumber, for having read it. You are awarded no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    And, as to your specious claim portending that as a chemist and software developer you have to doubt any data unless it’s been peer-reviewed or vetted by half a dozen peers, you can’t be that imprudent unless you are just being willfully ignorant. This (income inequality) debate is not new and there’s literally tens of thousands of published articles about it, many of which are peer-reviewed.

    The author of this blog couldn’t have been no more prescient in his comments disclaimer: “Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for scientific knowledge…”

    Have a good day.

  30. Andrea says:

    Hi Barry,

    Notice in the income distribution charts that after 1982 when Reagan and Bush got in but quite noticeably after 1992 the income distribution got more squewed. I suggest it is because after 1982 with the huge military industrial build up, those who could invest in the military industrial complex companies enjoyed the benefits of the profitability of those.

    I also suggest it was an ascendence of Fourth Reich nazis coming into power in the US, after germany reunited in 1989, in 1993 when after the German dominated G20 Agreements in which for the US to comply, the US has to collapse its economy to suit the German’s export driven
    economy and self interests, with NAFTA, the first of our anti-constitutional non tariff’d aka ‘free’ trade agreements, that more than 16th and 17th amendments, more than virtually anything else
    about our increasing fascistic society of corporate welfare (which yet more shredded social compact in the US) which is what ‘capitalism’ really is (capitalism is a european economists’ word) which comes into the vernacular from what was observed in europe about the power that
    private enterprise had to wield leverage, ie control over the sovereigns’ interests. For example, in the Britain, there was/is the ‘Crown’. Our Declaration of Independence mentions the Crown and it is not the King, (George) ie, the sovereign or the monarchy. It is the powerful commercial interests located in the ‘City’ a small fnancial neighborhood in London’s center, to which the King ie the monarchy was indebted. The ‘Crown’ had colonies in America and also even had until
    1997 Hongkong, ie a ‘crown’ colony. It had many colonies other than those monarchy colonies such as New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Another example was the British East India company and also the Dutch had their Dutch East India company.

    But again, what was observed even by Adam Smith about agency, its
    ascendence probably most characterized the emphasis on the power of
    the middle man and whatever the middle man was or was not to the
    owners where THOSE were directly involved as operators or remote
    investors such as what Smith talks about in Wealth of Nations.

    Capitalism was an expression which arose from European Economists to
    characterize what was observed with all of THIS. The US didnt really
    have any ‘famous’ economists until Milton Freidman, although we had
    social critics such as the guy who wrote The Jungle and even, from
    other careers such as Smedley Butler, deceased, from my home town of
    West Chester PA who after being awarded 2 congressional metals of
    honor and having achieved, major general status of the marines the age
    earlier than any other major general, retired and began agressive
    activism against the increasing amount of corporate power ie, fascism
    that sadly was flourishing in the US. He began this aggressive
    activism in the late 20s and early 30s and derided fascism and the
    increasing power of the military industrial complex in the US and its
    adventurist wars.

    The US had had private enterprise that had to answer to the
    Constitution underwhich the common man was privileged to vote and own
    property. Wealth development was good and broad when this was
    observed. Our model was not enjoyed in Europe by many of those
    countries until into the 19thc. An actually in many of those countries
    those people are NOT permitted to actually own their property.

    If one wants to call our erosion into ‘free’ enterprise with the
    increasing disparate wealth distribution as resembling europe or old
    world feudalism, yes i would say THAT or those are ‘capitalism’
    because actually in the systems in which i mentioned that the
    economists observed what was happening was that those who had access
    to or power over or to wield capital had that largely because of their
    power over or in conjuntion with the assistance of the sovereign.

    Notice europe often waged war across most of its geography. That only
    could have happened with the coordination and/or approval of the
    sovereigns of the warring countries, the Roman Catholic Church, the
    bankers/financiers which early on was the Roman Church … and the
    industrial types that built the cannons, the ships, the guns, the
    other supplies for waging war. The Romans probably had had a pattern
    about this and they were all over the map of europe. Later in european
    history the sovereigns in geographies vacated by the Romans but with
    the Roman Church still there, those old patterns morphed into more of
    what we still see about the nature of those societies and their
    constant wars. Our founders attempted to seperate us from those, and
    from that in our society, and we somewhat enjoyed some liberty both
    geographically and socially/culturally from the problems of the old
    world largely because of the form of government and its pact with the
    people not had in the old world and those countries as those
    formed/evolved.

    SOCIAL COMPACT IS BROKEN WITH NON TARIFF’D IE, ‘FREE’ TRADE WHICH
    VIOLATES ARTICLE 1 SECTION 8 OF THE US CONSTITUTION, WHICH CALLS FOR
    THE USE OF INDIRECT TAXATION AND FACILITATES WEALTH DEVELOPMENT MORE
    BROADLY ACROSS THE UNITED STATES.

    In any event, the US had had society that engage in private enterprise
    that answered to the Constitution, including Article 1 Section 8,
    which became violated after we did NAFTA, the first aggressive non
    tariff’d ie, ‘free’ trade agreement to offshore production out of the
    US to suit the German dominated G20 agreements which the germans were
    interested to erode any and all production competitors so that its own
    production driven economy would not be threatened, or over time be
    less threatened.

    Europe’s financial problems which this past Thursday at a New School
    Lord Eatwell’s talk mentioned something like this that 40% of the EU
    debt problems exist because that is roughly what is the amount of
    exposure with many EU countries having bought German exports. So the
    Germans have benefitted most from the facilitating of EU and G20
    members to borrow to buy german exports.

    And how has our wealth distribution fared during the time including
    NAFTA and after Germany’s reuniting? In the ‘consumer’ supported US
    economy, the blue collar middle class US voter has increasingly seen
    his employment off-shored while the white collar middle class voter in
    similarity has seen the quality of his employment eroded because in
    our shoulder to shoulder society, when with the Electoral College,
    every vote counts, if one part of society is eroded,eventually in a
    society in which we’d all done business with each other, except for
    the wealth the very wealthy enjoy which shields them from financial
    stress, the social and cultural stress builds up.

    It’s not little different than the problems of contemporized feudalism
    which we’ve imported by acquiescing to the German’s interests.

    capitalism is corporate welfare and bailouts are part and parcel with
    THAT because of the size issue that when allowed to grow and
    commandeer ‘federal’ corporate power, that size and abusive capability
    really levers power of the government to suit corporate interests. The
    founders attempted to avoid which with corporate law administered at
    teh state level, nothing was large, no central bank nor banking cartel
    which Jefferson knew to be a serious corruption and tyrrany in the old
    world. actually the Fed is the european central banking model. the Fed
    is very internationist and that’s also a seriously corruptive element
    to the US voter and even distribution of wealth and wealth development
    across the US throughout all of society. and now we’re not even on on
    the gold standard as the Constitution had had us. Power of corporate
    and wealthy (which have ties to the financial sector/money changers)
    to debauch the currency to suit its own self interests, facilitates
    further the contemporized feudalism I’ve mentioned that has occuring
    in a takeunder of our society and its economy. And again, it’s largely
    related to US compliance with the German dominated G20 AGreements.
    Until we repeal this and repeal all ‘free’t rade agreemetns and
    reshore production, our eocnomy will continue to inflate collapse. so
    why are we self immolating and this is being achieved in part with the
    ‘free’ trade agreements? I do have ideas as to why , but for now I’ve
    emailed some chunky material.

    Hope you’re well and all is well on your end.

    Bless you !

    Andrea Psoras

  31. lalaland says:

    OMFG

  32. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Andrea:

    That’s a dense and difficult-to-read post, but you make some good observations. We do have a shadow government, made possible by extra-Constitutional laws that The People, in all ignorance, have allowed to proliferate (that the laws we’ve passed that are in violation of our Constitution fairly obviously serve Corporatist — what you refer to as “Crown” — interests). Your observations regarding warring nation/banks is also food for thought.

    Politically, we have been divided and conquered.

    Hopefully, OWS will not be similarly divided based on blind loyalty to one of the two parties in our our useless and corrupt two party “system.” The 1% are most certainly not blindly loyal to one party or the other, but are smart and disciplined enough to serve their own narrow interests.

  33. Greg0658 says:

    that write posted by Andrea reminded me of this classic line “captured_ for the Queen to use”
    Yes – I’ve Seen all Good People
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJM7TdshUbw

    an old favorite band of mine … which I’ll add > no new albums this year (response to that other thread) .. I find myself stuck in present day “News” .. and old replays that I know how the story ends before I hit play

    psst – searching album covers “Going for the One” (naked ass man looking up at some skyscraper) gonna play that one again real soon – song 2 of 5 “turn of the century” …. ooouuuuooo

  34. Trevor says:

    I decided that near-term viewing of this chart might be distorted, so I found it instructive to start at 1929 or 1932/34 and then watch the division of spoils as I moved the end date back and forth to 2002 at a steady speed (the latest point that looks close to the long-term trend). I then locked the end to 2002 and moved the start back and forth.

    The result? there seem to be a few major points at which the proportions START to change: ~1941 (perhaps for obvious reasons, although there was a little movement from 1939), ~1952, ~1963, and ~1981.

    Are the input data accurate and/or consistent across time? Who knows, but, if one assumes that they are so (within acceptable reason), the points of inflection are interesting. Were they more the results of changes in laws or of other circumstances?

  35. mathman says:

    “A market-driven society is not synonymous with democracy and the privileges of the rich and the corporate elite do more to crush democracy than uplift society as a whole. Any society that allows the market to constitute the axis and framing mechanisms for all social interactions has not just lost its sense of morality and responsibility; it is given up its claim on any vestige of a democratic future. Market fundamentalism along with its structure of extreme inequality and machinery of cruelty has proven to be a death sentence on democracy.”

    Henry A. Giroux

  36. GrafSchweik says:

    Several years ago, Lewis Lapham sub-headed one of his commentaries in Harpers with this quote from Voltaire:

    “The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundance of the poor.”

    It shocked me at the time and knocked me out of the partial trance I was still in regarding what was really going on in this country. These days, it often comes to mind…

    If our corporate oligarchs spent just a little less time adding another hundred million or billion to their piles and a bit more time reading history–and paying attention to its lessons, we would all be a lot better off.

    But they’re not and so the likelihood that they or their offspring will eventually end up romanoved increases daily… In any case, we are now truly a Latin American country whose populace has steadily devolved from citizens to sheeple to peasants.

  37. Gene-OK says:

    @yyz84 Had you paid attention, I simply went to the web site that Mr. Ritholtz published and then read who supported the web site and their own published explanation of where the data came from. I did not say anything that is not supported by the web site.

    @GrafSchweik I simply went to the web site supplied by Mr. Ritholtz and published where they claimed they took their data.

    @bear_in_mind same as above. Nothing false published. It’s all true and all reported by stateofworkingamerica.org or the organization owning the web site, EPI.

    For all the rest, if you’ll actually read Mr. Ritholtz’s article, you can see the reference. You should actually follow the link. If you do a whois search of stateofworkingamerica.org this is what you see:

    Domain ID:D125574317-LROR
    Domain Name:STATEOFWORKINGAMERICA.ORG
    Registrant Organization:Economic Policy Institute
    Registrant Street1:1333 H Street, NW
    Registrant Street2:Suite 300, East Tower
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Washington
    Registrant State/Province:District of Columbia
    Registrant Postal Code:20005
    Registrant Country:US

    I’ve removed folks names, emails and phone numbers, but a little knowledge of how domain names work and you can see who owns what (sometimes).

    Regardless of all the trash talk, it’s important to look up your source folks. Just because you happen to agree (or disagree) with the data, it still doesn’t hurt to know who’s presenting it.

  38. InterestedObserver says:

    @Gene-OK – I really think you need to step back and parse the language that you used in the final two paragraphs of your original post. There’s lots of ways to read it depending on your mood and policy stance. The reaction is not a surprise.

    As for the data, it’s IRS data. That’s where the data originates. The bulk of the raw data is available, as is a very detailed 92 page update of the 2003 Piketty and Saez publication, which appeared in a journal that does employ peer review. So, the original work would appear to fulfill your requirements of some level of peer review. That’s not to say there haven’t been objections to the work. Reynolds provided a critique of that work in the WSJ in 2006, to which Piketty and Saez responded.

    As for a whois search…, who cares. Look at the primary data if you have a problem with the numbers. See if they’ve been manipulated. If you have an issue with the intrepretation, a whois analysis might be a comfort but little else.

    As for the overall conclusions, it really seems hard to get past the numbers from a variety of perspectives and sources. It’s take your pick ranging from ancedotal, to averaged views, to the more detailed type of assessment that’s the focus of the present discussion. As someone once said (well, almost…)…. “Houston, we have a problem….”.

    IO

  39. [...] US has turned into a third-world country, with extreme inequality, and a government captured by an upper class that cares only about looting as much as possible, and [...]

  40. victor says:

    @Andrea: Ok, did u get it all off your chest? feel better now? I stopped reading your post (rant) half way thru; what a headache!

  41. Stan Biyerman says:

    The jobs that were shipped overseas were all at the lower end of the income scale. My doctor and lawyer are still here. College professors are still here. $150 per hour jobs to screw on lug- nuts are gone.

    Remember Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound” of jobs exiting our country when NAFTA passed?

    Surely, there is to be some impact on income distribution.

  42. Luigi says:

    NAFTA outsourced manufacturing. 15 million illegal immigrants, mostly from Mexico, drove down wages and decimated blue-collar type jobs in construction and other areas. 97% of the 8 million jobs held by illegal immigrants are not in agriculture.

    “Illegal immigrants work in many sectors of the U.S. economy. According to National Public Radio in 2005, about 3 percent work in agriculture; 33 percent have jobs in service industries; and substantial numbers can be found in construction and related occupations (16 percent), and in production, installation, and repair (17 percent).[6] According to USA Today in 2006, about 4 percent work in farming; 21 percent have jobs in service industries; and substantial numbers can be found in construction and related occupations (19 percent), and in production, installation, and repair (15 percent), with 12% in sales, 10% in management, and 8% in transportation.[7] Illegal immigrants have lower incomes than both legal immigrants and native-born Americans, but earnings do increase somewhat the longer an individual is in the country.[6]“

  43. [...] dass da etwas im Argen liegt, dürfte kaum jemandem entgangen sein. Wenn doch, werft mal einen Blick auf Statistiken wie diese, die Occupy George auf 1-Dollar-Noten [...]

  44. [...] seen quite a number of posts and articles on the subject of income inequality. The first, from Barry Ritholtz, largely consists of several graphics illustrating income distribution gains from 1917 to 1981, [...]