Make us your home page
Instagram

Study: Income gap widened dramatically from 1979 to 2007

WASHINGTON — The richest 1 percent of Americans have been getting far richer over the last three decades while the middle class and poor have seen their after-tax household income only crawl up in comparison, according to a government study.

After-tax income for the top 1 percent of U.S. households almost tripled, up 275 percent, from 1979 to 2007, the Congressional Budget Office found. For people in the middle of the economic scale, after-tax income grew by just 40 percent. Those at the bottom experienced an 18 percent increase.

"The distribution of after-tax income in the United States was substantially more unequal in 2007 than in 1979," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said in a blog post. "The share of income accruing to higher-income households increased, whereas the share accruing to other households declined."

The top 1 percent made $165,000 or more in 1979; that jumped to $347,000 in 2007, the study said. The income for the top fifth started at $51,289 in 1979 and rose to $70,578 in 2007. On the other end of the spectrum, those in the 20th percentile went from $12,823 in 1979 to $14,851 in 2007.

The report, based on IRS and Census Bureau data, comes as the Occupy Wall Street movement protests corporate bailouts and the gap between the haves and have-nots. Demonstrators call themselves "the 99 percent."

Lawmakers and presidential candidates are mulling overhauling the tax code — some propose a flat tax that critics say could magnify the income gap — and a congressional "supercommittee" is weighing options to cut the deficit.

President Barack Obama has toured the country promising to raise taxes on the wealthy to finance his jobs agenda, which includes continuing a payroll tax cut, boosting infrastructure spending and helping local governments avoid layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chairman of the House Budget Committee, decried Obama's moves as "class warfare."

"Telling people they are stuck in their current station in life, that they are victims of circumstances beyond their control, and that the government's role is to help them cope with it — well, that's not who we are," Ryan said at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Wider inequality

Some of the findings of the Congressional Budget Office report on income distribution:

• The top 20 percent of the population earned 53 percent of after-tax income in 2007, as opposed to 43 percent in 1979.

• The top 1 percent reaped a 17 percent share of all income, up from 8 percent in 1979.

• The bottom 20 percent reaped just 5 percent of after-tax income, vs. 7 percent in 1979.

Study: Income gap widened dramatically from 1979 to 2007 10/26/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 9:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times

    Business

    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]