During W Admin, 1/400 of taxpayers got almost one-half of economic gains

The top 1/4 of 1%, needless to say. Average income is higher than in 2002 but still lower than in 2000. Story here:

  1. :dubious: Isn’t it?

  2. Are the aftermath of the dot-com bubble bursting and the dislocations of 9/11 really the only important reasons for the stagnation of average income in America? Don’t globalization and outsourcing play some role?

  3. How will this picture affect the 2008 elections?

Mission accomplished!

Heh. :smiley:

That about sums it up. I’m sure wealthy Republican donors are quite happy.

Who cares? These are the folks driving the economy. Without their capital and risk-taking, workers would be worse off. Furthermore, the top 1% of taxpayers pay around 37% of the nation’s income taxes.

So, the hundreds of millions of Americans buying cars, houses and clothing, and working, have nothing to do with it? These handful are what really counts?

Plus, if income were distributed more equitably they’d pay less tax, and that should make them happy of tax is all that matters. Kind of like the “lucky duckies” too poor to pay much in taxes.
I rather suspect no one is forcing them to take their multi-million dollar paychecks for driving stock prices down and mismanaging mortgages.

With it, workers don’t seem to be any better off.

And the rich are going to feel that eventually, because the poor are going to stop shopping and stop paying their mortgages, because they can’t. It’s already started. (Discussed here by Barbara Ehrenreich.)

That sounds plausible, but I’d like a cite.

I’d certainly say that being employed is much better off than not being employed.

The idea of the coming economic meltdown is, in my opinion, completely overblown.

Here: http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=6

Of course they count. But without capital to produce and invent these things, there would be a lot less to buy plus a lot fewer jobs to give people money.


I’d say the dot-com bubble is enough of an explaination. Why are you surprised by this…it seems fairly unsurprising to me. Not very noteworthy either. I assume you understand about a bubble economy, what happenes when it bursts and why later you don’t reach the high water marks of an economy that was unsustainable?

Do you have something other than Cluster-Fuck-Nation indicating that globalization and outsourcing are playing a significant role in this?

I would say, baring a collapse due to the housing market in the next year the Republicans will do quite nicely on the economy. Except among those who are already committed to the Democrats of course. Will it be enough to overcome the negative impact they will take concerning the war? Stay tuned to the next exciting episode to see…


Lower and middle class people who are feeling worse off and more financially unstable but who are told “The economy is doing great!”. They might care.

These aren’t the numbers you’re looking for. They’re not normalized for the distribution of wealth. What you want to compare is the relative rate of change.

A simple example: start with 99 people with $1K income, 1 person with $1M income. Let’s say the economy changes. The 99 poor double their incomes, the millionaire gets a 10% increase. So the poor improve at ten times the rate of the millionaire (100% vs 10% gain). But, looking at the absolute numbers, the millionaire has increased his income by $100K while the poor increase their incomes by a total of $99K. So, the rich 1% of the population has gained 51% of the increase in wealth.

So, in this simple example, are the poor better or worse off?

The numbers you’ve given us might represent something similar. Or, they may not.

You need to look at the big picture. Of those people that didn’t enjoy economic benefits, how many made large donations to Republican campaigns? I’m guessing very few. Serves them cheap bastards right.

Don’t you just love it when they trickle down on you?


An “interesting story.” Fratto (like Renob) is dismissing the differential effects of the tax cuts on different income groups with a “Move on, nothing to see here.”

If you mean James Howard Kunstler’s column, he doesn’t blame globalization as such, so much as the (arguably resultant, certainly concomitant) deindustrialization and over-financialization of the American economy. (I recall hearing similar complaints from Lee Iacocca in the '80s.) From his latest entry:

I especially like the part where they tell me it’s raining.

If only that were our problem

Here is a comparison of median family income, in 2005 dollars, between 2004-2005 and 2000-2001. (Warning - pdf, but a small one.) The two year 2000-2001 average is $47,084. For 2004-2005 it is $46,071, a statistically significant decrease. Median incomes are particularly useful since it doesn’t reflect the skewing of the mean by the big increase in income for the rich. In your example, the median income would double, while the average income would increase from 10,990 to 12,980, about a 10% increase.

The economy is improved, but the rich are getting pretty much all the benefits, while the Republicans whine about how the rest of us don’t appreciate what they’ve done for us.

Maybe there would be more jobs with higher consumption, and thus higher demand - especially if more income went into savings, and thus investment.

Remember, a problem during the bubble was excessive, inefficient, investment. A tax cut that tended to increase the money available for investment, but not for demand, was just plain stupid. A tax cut in 2001 was definitely warranted, but we got the wrong tax cut.

You’re missing my point–the numbers give in the OP don’t support a conclusion either way. The numbers you’re providing are useful! Relative change of the median is a good start. Now, if we good get relative change at other percentiles (to compare how someone at the 10th percentile has done versus the 90th, for example), we could have an informed discussion.

It’s Operation Yellow Elephant!

FYI: the 2006 income and poverty numbers are scheduled for release on Tuesday. Check here then; should be a link to the PDF in place by late morning that day.

I’ve seen that data also, though not in terms of medians. I can probably figure it out, but it would take more time than I had.

However, since there is censoring at the low end, the mean is always going to be higher than the median. We’ve got a long tail at high incomes. And, I agree with you that we’d be willing to accept a big increase in high incomes if there was also an increase at the low end, as in your example. During the bubble, median incomes rose, and there was a tightening of the distribution, though people at the high end did very, very well. Incomes are not a zero-sum game.