Thursday, April 21, 2011

How Rich Are the super Rich



It's the Inequality, Stupid

Eleven charts that explain everything that's wrong with America.

A huge share of the nation's economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

Average Income by Family, distributed by income group.
The richest controls 2/3 of America's net worth

Note: The 2007 data (the most current) doesn't reflect the impact of the housing market crash. In 2007, the bottom 60% of Americans had 65% of their net worth tied up in their homes. The top 1%, in contrast, had just 10%. The housing crisis has no doubt further swelled the share of total net worth held by the superrich.

The superrich have grabbed the bulk of the past three decades' gains.

Aevrage Household income before taxes.

A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable.

Average Income by Family, distributed by income group.

Why Washington is closer to Wall Street than Main Street.

median net worth of american families, median net worth for mebers of congress, your odds of being a millionaire, member of congress's odds of being a millionaire
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)$451.1 million
Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.)$435.4 million
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.)$366.2 million
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)$294.9 million
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)$285.1 million
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)$283.1 million
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.)$231.2 million
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas)$201.5 million
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)$136.2 million
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)$108.1 million
10 Richest Members of Congress 100% Voted to extend the cuts
Congressional data from 2009. Family net worth data from 2007. Sources: Center for Responsive Politics; US Census; Edward Wolff, Bard College.

For a healthy few, it's getting better all the time.

Gains and Losses in 2007-2009, Average CEO Pay vs. Average Worker Pay

A millionaire's atx rate, now and then. Share of Federal Tax revenue

How much income have you given up for the top 1 percent?

 
Sources

Income distribution: Emmanuel Saez (Excel)

Net worth: Edward Wolff (PDF)
Household income/income share: Congressional Budget Office
Real vs. desired distribution of wealth: Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely (PDF)
Net worth of Americans vs. Congress: Federal Reserve (average); Center for Responsive Politics(Congress)
Your chances of being a millionaire: Calculation based on data from Wolff (PDF); US Census (household and population data)  
Member of Congress' chances: Center for Responsive Politics
Wealthiest members of Congress: Center for Responsive Politics
Tax cut votes: New York Times (Senate; House)
Wall street profits, 2007-2009: New York State Comptroller (PDF)
Unemployment rate, 2007-2009: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Home equity, 2007-2009: Federal Reserve, Flow of Funds data, 1995-2004 and 2005-2009 (PDFs)
CEO vs. worker pay: Economic Policy Institute
Historic tax rates: Calculations based on data from The Tax Foundation
Federal tax revenue: Joint Committee on Taxation (PDF)

Dave Gilson is a senior editor at Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here. Get Dave Gilson's RSS feed.

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