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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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