On July 1, at the start of the Independence Day weekend, we learned that income inequality in this country became even worse last year.
Economic inequality produces scars that last a lifetime – and even longer. That’s one reason why President Obama said in 2013 that “increasing inequality … challenges the very essence of who we are as a people.”
Well, that challenge just became even greater. Economist Emanuel Saez’s groundbreaking studies of inequality have helped reshape the political debate. In a July 1 publication, Saez found that the wealth gap between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent became even worse in 2015. Earnings for the top 1 percent reached a “new high” that year. The 1 percent’s income increase of 7.7 percent was nearly twice everyone else’s.
Saez revisited several years of data and found that:
“(I)ncomes (adjusted for inflation) of the top 1 percent of families grew from $990,000 in 2009 to $1,360,000 in 2015, a growth of 37 percent … (while) the incomes of the bottom 99 percent of families grew only by 7.6 percent–from $45,300 in 2009 to $48,800 in 2015.”