Gallup: Two-thirds of Americans — even most Republicans — dismayed by income disparity


THESE NUMBERS from the Gallup organization make it likely that President Obama will stress income disparity in his State of the Union speech next week:

Two out of three Americans are dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are currently distributed in the U.S. This includes three-fourths of Democrats and 54% of Republicans.

And THESE NUMBERS are what’s driving the dissatisfaction:

1. Just 13 Americans Made More from Their Investments in 2013 than the Entire SNAP  [Food Stamp] Budget.

2. The Richest 400 Took $300 Billion in 2013, Approximately the ENTIRE Safety Net.

3. The Richest 12,000 Families are Estimated to have Each Made $40 Million in the Past Year.

Conclusion: The System Is Broken

The overall calculations reveal that, to the best approximation:

–The richest 400 individuals made an average of $750,000,000 each in 2013.
–The .01% (12,000 families) made about $40,000,000 each.
–The .1% (120,000 families) made about $3,600,000 each.
–The rest of the 1% (1,068,000 families) made over $830,000 each.
–The 2-5% (4,800,000 households) made about $300,000 each.
–The 6-10% (6,000,000 households) made about $95,000 each.
–The 11-20% (12,000,000 households) made about $39,000 each.
–The 21-40% (24,000,000 households) made about $13,000 each.
–The 41-60% (24,000,000 households) made about $4,000 each.
–The 61-80% (24,000,000 households) made about $333 each.
–The bottom 20% (24,000,000 households) made nothing.








  1. All of this would be terrible if the amount of wealth in this country was static or if there was an absolute prohibition from any individual earning more income. Of course the amount of wealth isn’t static and in general people are free to earn as much as their talent, career choice and willingness to work allow.


  2. Here is another.


    Fear and loathing of income inequality is both totally understandable and ultimately misplaced.

    It’s understandable because everywhere around us it seems as if top income earners ‑ those latter-day kulaks vilified as the “1 Percent” by the Occupy crowd and populist politicians ‑ are gaining while the rest of us seem barely able to hang on to a lower-middle-class standard of living.

    It’s misplaced because it glosses over strong evidence that the ability to rise above your starting place ‑ the American Dream, by most accounts ‑ is better than it was 40 years ago.

    There is no doubt that the spread between top earners and those below them has grown over time. The share of income earned by the top 1 percent in the United States has doubled since the early 1970s. The top 20 percent’s share has risen, too, though the increase is much smaller and has leveled off since the 1990s.

    Yet it is far from clear that inequality is a bad thing when it’s the result of market forces. Think about it: Do Bill Gates’ billions take bread from your mouth, or have Microsoft products allowed you to put bread in your wallet by making you more productive and the goods and services you buy cheaper?

    As important, it’s not clear how to “compress” incomes even if we want to. The same trend toward greater inequality is happening in most advanced economies, across different tax and regulatory systems. Despite spending $1 trillion a year on the poor, federal and state governments report increases in poverty and need. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that President Barack Obama’s proposed tax increases on individuals making over $200,000 and joint filers making over $250,000 would raise just $42 billion in 2013 and $39 billion in 2014. That’s not enough either to strip the wealthy of their booty or lift the poor up ‑ especially given the bad track record that government programs have in boosting the prospects of the least skilled among us.

    Which isn’t to say that government policies don’t redistribute income and opportunity. They do in all sorts of ways, but typically in ways that work against leveling opportunity.

    For instance, in terms of total compensation (salary plus benefits), federal workers earn 16 percent more on average than private-sector workers with the same experience, education, and responsibilities. They are paid out of your current and future taxes, not corporate profits. In what some have seen as an echo of the setting for The Hunger Games, the growing power of the federal government to dispense favors and direct whole industries has transformed the Washington, D.C., metro area into the nation’s wealthiest, boasting 10 of the top 20 counties for median household income.

  3. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865594743/What-we-thought-we-knew-about-upward-mobility-in-America-is-wrong.html

    Little has changed when it comes to upward mobility in America, according to a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

    Despite the widening gap between the country’s richest and poorest, economic mobility has remained relatively stagnant in the U.S. for the past 20 years, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

    “Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike have expressed alarm over what had been seen as diminishing opportunities for economic advancement through hard work and ingenuity,” Associated Press reporter Paul Wiseman reported earlier today.

    “Instead, the study found that 9 percent of children born in 1986 to the poorest 20 percent of households were likely to climb into the top 20 percent — little-changed from 8.4 percent for such children born in 1971.”

    Conclusions based on the bureau’s study have varied, but the belief that both major political parties will have to revise their talking points when it comes to economic mobility seems to be a prominent theme.

    “The results won’t fit neatly into either party’s political arguments,” The Wall Street Journal’s Damian Paletta wrote in response to the study, also adding that “the distinction between economic mobility and income inequality … is important at a time when politicians are using the words almost interchangeably.”

    “The findings also suggest that who your parents are and how much they earn is more consequential for American youths today than ever before,” The Washington Post’s Jim Tankersley writes. “That’s because the difference between the bottom and the top of the economic ladder has grown much more stark, but climbing the ladder hasn’t gotten any easier.”

    While writers such as Tankersley and The New York Times’ David Leonhardt focused primarily on the study’s implications in the debate over income inequality, W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, believes that “of all the factors most predictive of economic mobility in America, one factor clearly stands out in their study: family structure.”

    In an article for Slate titled, “Family matters,” Wilcox argues that “what makes (the study) particularly significant is that this is the first major study showing that rates of single parenthood at the community level are linked to children’s economic opportunities over the course of their lives.

    “This is the first study to show that lower-income kids from both single — and married — parent families are more likely to succeed,” Wilcox continues, “if they hail from a community with lots of two-parent families.”

    As Leonhardt suggests in his New York Times piece, no matter what the varying takeaways may be from pundits and politicians, “the study has the potential to alter the way Mr. Obama and other public figures talk about mobility trends.”

  4. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765646185/Study-Climbing-income-ladder-hasnt-grown-harder.html

    WASHINGTON — Young Americans from low-income families are as likely to move into the ranks of the affluent today as those born in the 1970s, according to a report by several top academic experts on inequality.

    The study, published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, runs counter to the widespread belief that a widening gap between rich and poor has made it harder to climb the economic ladder.

    Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike have expressed alarm over what had been seen as diminishing opportunities for economic advancement through hard work and ingenuity.

    Instead, the study found that 9 percent of children born in 1986 to the poorest 20 percent of households were likely to climb into the top 20 percent — little-changed from 8.4 percent for such children born in 1971.

    “Absolutely, we were surprised” by the results, says Harvard University economist Nathaniel Hendren. He is one of the report’s authors along with Harvard’s Raj Chetty, Emmanuel Saez and Patrick Kline of the University of California, Berkeley, and Nicholas Turner of the Treasury Department.

    Worries have been growing across the political spectrum about an expanding divide between America’s rich and the rest: The top 1 percent of Americans accounted for 22.5 percent of income earned in the United States in 2012. That is one of the highest figures since the Roaring ’20s and up from a low 8.9 percent in 1976, according to a database maintained by Saez.

    But the fact the top 1 percent are pulling away has had little effect on the ability of those in the bottom fifth to rise to the top fifth, the study found.

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