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How much richer did the 1% get?

The income of the nation's top earners increased 275% between 1979 and 2007. The rest of us didn't do nearly as well.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 26, 2011 2:28PM

This post comes from Seth Fiegerman at partner site MainStreet.


MainStreet on MSN MoneyA government report may add fuel to the fire for the Occupy Wall Street protesters.


Households in the top 1% of wage earners saw their after-tax incomes more than double between 1979 and 2007, significantly outpacing each of the other income brackets' growth in wages in those years, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday. Post continues after video.

In total, after-tax incomes for the top 1% shot up by 275% from 1979 to 2007, the CBO found. Those in the next bracket -- the highest 20% of earners (excluding the top 1%) -- saw their earnings increase by 65%, which is not insignificant but only a small fraction of the gains had at the tippy top.


Meanwhile, wages have been comparatively stagnant at the low end of the income spectrum. The bottom 20% saw their wages increase by just 18% during that 28-year period.


CBO Top 1% Income Chart


As a result, the CBO found that those in the bottom 80% of wage earners saw their share of the nation's total income decline by 2 to 3 percentage points depending on which bracket they were in, while the top 20% of income earners saw their share increase by 10 percentage points, largely driven by gains among the top 1%.


No wonder the other 99% are so upset.


More on MainStreet and MSN Money:

Oct 27, 2011 11:55AM

OK - The  reasons for the wealthy becoming more wealthy are -


1.  Money talks especially money from the lobbyist (MONEY CHANGERS) in Washington.  I might be able to send $25 but I sure can not send $500, $1,000 or more.  The BIG MONEY is listened to.


2. Congress members by and large are MILLIONAIRES- - they therefore say they are protecting the middle class, but they are PROTECTING THEMSELVES as they are part of the problem.

Oct 26, 2011 4:33PM
You are comparing incomes and wages - which is apples to oranges. I haven't gotten a raise in 20 years - but my income has increased because of investments. That is money I earned and saved. Save your money and invest it well and your income will go up as well.
Oct 27, 2011 11:54AM
Mikey Gato, you advice is sound....for those who have the financial wherewithall to follow it.  Unfortunately, many people suffered job loss, and if rehired, now make substantially less.  I know, it happened to me, I was forced out of my engineering job in 2001 at age 56, and now have an office job that pays 30% of what I used to make.  My wife just lost her job in May.  This is not a complaint, nor am I looking for sympathy, sympathy and a buck won't even get you a cup of coffee at a gas station Kwik Mart, who needs it. Rather, the point is that many working people are just making ends meet (some not even that), so there is no way they can take advantage of these wonderful investments as you did.  This is one of the reasons that the income disparity in this country is increasing.  The Middle Class is dying.  Don't just look at yourself and think you are in the typical situation, from your post, I think you are luckier than a lot of others.
Oct 27, 2011 12:35PM

Government is not representative of the American populace.  It only represents the ones with the most wealth.  America has now become the epitome of the elite and wealthy lords and nobles of medieval times.  Although, the super-rich do not bear the titles of royalty; they still expect that that situations will always be in their favor just as it was  and still is in countries which recognize monarchs.  We are inundated with reality TV and news reports which tout the wealth and status of these individuals.


We must rise up before it is too late!!

Jun 6, 2012 12:54AM
While society is not meant to be fair due to the need for different positions requiring unequal amount of effort, The basic understanding in the creation of a society is the promotion of the general welfare of the population. If those who you claim are simply better at manipulating the monetary system are allowed to continue amassing the wide majority of the money, only revolution can follow, as seen throughout  history in all such greed based systems.  Thus, the result is the destruction of the general welfare by the introduction of mass hunger, poverty and ultimately detachment from national unity. If the wise saying that "history shall repeat itself in similar circumstances" is to be heeded, then the top 1% would do well to remember that the bottom 99% outnumber them in the hundreds of millions. Truly it is preposterous and disgusting that all you need is 250k a year to be in the Top 1% , That means that the average American is beyond poor, and is very easily manipulated. Considering the amount of money the United states Invests in Education : The circumstances of this manipulation are so bizarre, the framework of the American economic system so extraordinary and the extreme support from half the population so unjustly adapted to their own demise, THAT I MUST commend either the TREMENDOUS intelligence of the TOP 1% or the OBVIOUS STUPIDITY of the bottom 99%. 
Oct 26, 2011 4:39PM

I guess this all depends upon one's outlook on life.  I work, have always worked, sometimes three jobs at a time.  For the better part of my life I lived pay check to pay check, struggled financially at times, never really comfortable until recently.  I have always paid taxes regardless of how modest my income may have been.  Now I learn that 47% of wage earners pay nothing in Federal income taxes.  Some actually get tax dollars from the IRS when they have paid nothing in, sounds like another form of welfare.  However, many seem to expect everything from the 53% that pay all the taxes.  Free tuition, free medical care, free housing, free free free!  Many of the "entitled" must be in those rag-tag groups idling away the hours in the "Occupy" protests.  They claim to be the "99%", which of course includes all of the 47% of non-payers.  The "1%" and most of the rest of us who actually work, don't have time to spend in protests after all.  If the protestors were engaged in productive work, they wouldn't have the time to be littering up someone else's neighborhood either. 


I have never focused on what others had.  I was raised to recognize that there will always be someone who has more money, is better looking, is better at sports etc. than I.  I was also taught that I should strive to make the most of the talents that I have and to diligently work to achieve a better life.  Maybe I should start a protest that urges these dead beats to go home, get a job, get a life and give me my neighborhood back!

Oct 27, 2011 8:09AM
It's not about what you are worth to an employer, it's about the Wealthy being able to continually push people down because they have the power to do so. Capitalism is a failed joke. 
Oct 27, 2011 2:50PM
It should be noted that the top 1% are not always the same individuals.  Some may have dropped out or moved down, overall they are saying the top 1% did in fact get wealthier (which is true).  But it's going to happen, there is always an outlier in society.  It not like the mean bullies are out taking money and opportunities from the smaller kids, they are playing by the rules as everyone else but are playing them smarter.  Society is not always fair, cant you remember in gym class how there was always someone faster and stronger than you?  Of course you do, everyone has talents and abilities, making money is one of those talents.
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