The richest Americans have been looked after, and then some.

In case you were wondering who is in control of our government

The top ten percent of earners in the United States took home more than 50 percent of all income in 2012, the highest amount ever recorded since data was first collected in 1917, according to an updated report from economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty.

While the wealthiest took a big hit during the financial crisis, they’ve almost fully recovered. Last year, income for the top 1 percent of earners “increased sharply,” the report notes, growing by nearly 20 percent, while the bottom 99 percent only saw money rise by 1 percent. “In sum,” the authors write, “top 1% incomes are close to full recovery while bottom 99% incomes have hardly started to recover.”

This follows a trend since the recovery officially began. From 2009 to 2012, income for the 1 percent grew by 31.4 percent, while everyone else only saw it grow by 0.4 percent. That means the 1 percent “captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery,” they write.

This is obscene.  It’s the kind of thing that makes a person want to start drinking at breakfast…if only they could afford to do so.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • baal

    Mano Singham @ ftb hits this issue a lot as well. It’s such a dry and dull statement to point out the inequality but the impact on me and you is huge. If we were still at the income inequality level of 2000, you’d be getting 5% more pay. On a $40,000 salary that’s $2000. To get to 1970′s level you’d be making ~ 40% more or +$16,000 = $56,000. I can’t begin to imagine what that’d do to the economy with everyone buying stuff they need and want.

    • unbound55

      That’s the rub, and, for me, a strong indicator that the richest in the US really aren’t all that bright.

      Our economy is based on mass-produced products and services. The fuel for such an economy is that the masses can buy and sell the those goods and services. As the richest continue to starve the masses for their short-term gain, the logical result will be death of the economy for everyone…

  • MichaelYHC

    JT, you should be weary of jumping into subjects without a deep understanding of its nuances. Why did you come to the conclusion that this is the result of the government being controlled by certain groups? Why can’t it come from factors like a “jobless” recovery, a pumping up of reserve wages because of government support following the recovery, longer tails and increased executive responsibilities?

    By the way, the summary from Think Progress has a fundamental error. The study was not top income earners, but family income levels. This is a critical difference, as large numbers of single mother families were not in play in 1917 when that figure was started. Right wing economist Thomas Sowell said that any time someone uses family income they are purposely exaggerating inequality.

    • baal

      weary vs wary
      Why would I care what a right wing economist thinks?

      What are longer tails?

      What is a reserve wage?

      Why is the recovery jobless? (or more exactly, why are the corps with huge piles of cash not spending it on employees? could it be lack of consumer demand due to low wages? political motivations? corps welfare? corps not paying for their externalities?)

      Before you get all up in the nuance, you might want to do a better job on being clear instead of going on a jargon fest.

      • MichaelYHC

        So let me get this straight, you don’t understand basic economic concepts, and are unwilling to google them, but you feel confident posting your opinion on economics? These are very easy concepts to define.

        I said that about Sowell to be transparent. It doesn’t make his position wrong.