The Great Recession officially ended five years ago, but that’s news for millions of Americans: A stunning 95 percent of income growth since the recovery started has gone to the superwealthy. If an average household currently earning $71,000 had enjoyed the same gains as the 1 percent since 2000, it would now make more than $83,000. And the widening income gap is not just about the 1 percent anymore: Take a closer look, and you’ll see that it’s really a tiny fraction—the 1 percent of the 1 percent—that hoovers up the lion’s share of the nation’s wealth. With Washington paralyzed on bread-and-butter issues and the midterms ahead, we put together a primer on the state of America’s frozen paychecks.

Sources

Trickle Up: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel)

Whose Recovery?: Boom and recovery gains, 1% gains: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel); average household income: Census Bureau

The Rich and the Megarich: World Top Incomes Database

Working More, Earning Less: Household income: Census Bureau; economic growth: St. Louis Fed; 1 percent: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel); corporate profits: St. Louis Fed

X Marks the Spot: Historic income share: World Top Incomes Database; future trend: Thomas Piketty (PDF)

Back to the Future: Rome: Walter Scheidel and Steven J. Friesen; US in 1774 and 1860: Peter H. Lindert and Jeffrey G. Williamson; US in 1929-2012: World Top Incomes Database

Race to the Bottom: Income by race: Census Bureau; wealth by race: Edward N. Wolff 

The Asset Crash: Edward N. Wolff 

Happy Returns: Tax rates: The Tax Foundation; top incomes: Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty (Excel)

It’s Not Easy…: Langone, Schwarzman, Perkins, Zell, Rodgers, Asness

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what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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