Top of the morning

Here is the fact of the day from Robert Reich, from his Labor Day post which you should read if you missed it.

In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent of American families took in about 9 percent of the nation’s total income; by 2007, the top 1 percent took in 23.5 percent of total income. It’s no coincidence that the last time income was this concentrated was in 1928.

6 Comments

  1. Rob Schofield

    September 8, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I’m sure this is only because the rich work two and a half times harder than they used to.

  2. Chris Hatfer

    September 8, 2010 at 8:48 am

    I wonder what share of the total tax burden they took over during this same period ?

  3. Jeff Shaw

    September 8, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Actually, their tax rates *dropped* during that period. Tax rates on income, dividends and capital gains are all lower under Obama than they were under Reagan.

    http://www.yourdailyjournal.com/view/full_story_home/9114341/article-GOP–Dems-can-agree–taxes-are-historically-low?instance=homesecondary_opinion_left_column

  4. Chris Hatfer

    September 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Tax rates mean little, because they dropped for everyone. In 1980, the top 1% of taxpayers paid 19% of the total. By 2007, this number had increased to over 40%. Looking at the top 10%, this number increased from 49% in 1980 to over 72 %. In fact, the top 50 % of taxpayers now pay 96.03% of all taxes. The bottom 50% now pays almost nothing in taxes compared to what they did in 1980. What this actually means is we moved from a manufacturing economy with a larger middle class to a service economy with more folks on the lower end, or on the government dole. Unfortunately, more taxes on the rich will not move a lot of folks up the scale, and in fact may hurt the economy in the long run.

  5. Jeff Shaw

    September 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    If tax rates supported your argument, you’d be crowing about them.

    But they don’t, so you pick a different measurement — because you think that measurement supports your argument, even though it actually does the opposite.

    The destruction of the middle class is not something that just happened out of the blue. We moved from a manufacturing economy with a large middle class to a service economy because right-wingers demanded we bust unions, ship jobs overseas, and cut funding for the public investments that help people join the middle class, like education.

    This devastated the earning power of most Americans. The rich wound up paying more in revenue during that time for the same reason cited in the original post: because their incomes *exploded* compared to the rest of the population. The middle class and the poor saw their incomes in real dollars *shrink*, so they paid comparatively less. It’s not a trade that most of us like.

    America works best when we have a strong middle class. Right-wing policies destroy the middle class, which effectively drives the economy into the ditch.

    Also, I’ll say this again: I’d really appreciate it if you’d post some links to your information sources. The figures you cite out of the air cannot be taken at face value.

    I have a hunch I’m going to remind you that “tax rates mean little” at some point in the future on this blog, too.

  6. Chris Hatfer

    September 9, 2010 at 8:05 am

    It seems like things are happening exactly opposite from your economic theory. When Pelosi and the Democrats took over in January 2007, unemployment was at 4.6% and the deficit was barely over $140 billion a year. Just look at us now-going over 10% unemployment very soon, and a MONTHLY deficit of $150 Billion. Middle class jobs have been lost to the tune of 2 million during this period with very few prospects, and they continue to go overseas.For many people , the last time they could find a job was the Bush years. Globalization and shoddy products busted your unions , not conservatives.