The chart shows income excluding capital gains, and as you can see, the top 1% of the population (blue line) increased their share of national income from 16% in 2004 to 17% in 2005. Not bad for one year! Meanwhile, the merely well off (red and green lines) went nowhere. Historically speaking, then, here’s what we’ve got:
Top 10%: income share stagnant since 1983.
Top 5%: Income share stagnant since 1995.
Top 1%: Still rocking and rolling!
This is all pretty rarefied atmosphere, of course. Here’s Saez:
2005 shows a very large increase in income concentration: the top 1% gains 14% in real terms from 2004 while the bottom 99% gains less than 1%….The striking thing about 2003-2005 is the huge increase at the top with quasi-stagnation below the top 1%. In the late Clinton years, the top gained enormously but at least the bottom was also making progress.
Median wages have been stagnant since the mid-70s. Today, the wages of everyone below the top 1% are stagnant. As Andrew Tobias likes to say, it’s a grand time to be rich and powerful in America.