January 7, 2014

5 facts about economic inequality

Issues of inequality seem poised to play a large role in the public discourse this year. President Obama is expected to use his Jan. 28 State of the Union speech to promote specific proposals aimed at inequality, such as raising the federal minimum wage. Congressional Democrats reportedly see inequality as an issue that could help them in this year’s midterm elections. And some Republicans, such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, have begun talking about creating “a new opportunity society in America” as a conservative approach to addressing persistent poverty.

As the debate gears up, it’s important to understand some basic facts about how inequality is measured, the trends over time and how the U.S. compares globally. Here’s a “5 Facts” primer:

1By one measure, U.S. income inequality is the highest it’s been since 1928. In 1982, the highest-earning 1% of families received 10.8% of all pretax income, while the bottom 90% received 64.7%, according to research by UC-Berkeley professor Emmanuel Saez. Three decades later, according to Saez’ preliminary estimates for 2012, the top 1% received 22.5% of pretax income, while the bottom 90%’s share had fallen to 49.6%.

2The U.S. is more unequal than most of its developed-world peers. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. ranked 10th out of 31 OECD countries in income inequality based on “market incomes” — that is, before taking into account the redistributive effects of tax policies and income-transfer programs such as Social Security and unemployment insurance. After accounting for taxes and transfers, the U.S. had the second-highest level of inequality, after Chile. 

3The black-white income gap in the U.S. has persisted. The difference in median household incomes between whites and blacks has grown from about $19,000 in 1967 to roughly $27,000 in 2011 (as measured in 2012 dollars). Median black household income was 59% of median white household income in 2011, up modestly from 55% in 1967; as recently as 2007, black income was 63% of white income.

4Americans are relatively unconcerned about the wide income gap between rich and poor. Americans in the upper fifth of the income distribution earn 16.7 times as much as those in the lowest fifth — by far the widest such gap among the 10 advanced countries in the Pew Research Center’s 2013 global attitudes survey. Yet barely half (47%) of Americans think the rich-poor gap is a very big problem. Among advanced countries, only Australians expressed a lower level of concern, but in Australia the top fifth earned just 2.7 times the income of the bottom fifth.

5Wealth inequality is even greater than income inequality. NYU economist Edward Wolff has found that, while the highest-earning fifth of U.S. families earned 59.1% of all income, the richest fifth held 88.9% of all wealth.

FT_13.12.13_econDistribution-310

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Income Inequality

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a Senior Writer at the Pew Research Center.

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53 Comments

  1. Benjamin Brandenburg4 months ago

    Some of these stats run counter to others presented on this very website:
    “65% of Americans say the gap between the rich and everyone else has widened in the past decade, according to a new Pew Research Center survey; a similar percentage (67%) recently told Gallup they were dissatisfied with the way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S. In the Pew Research survey, nearly seven-in-ten Americans said the government should do “a lot” (43%) or “some” (26%) to reduce the gap. For more on inequality (especially the impact on the middle class), see these key data points.”

    From:

    ‘State of the Union 2014: Where Americans stand on key issues’
    BY DREW DESILVER, JANUARY 27, 2014

    Reply
  2. JT5 months ago

    “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” Milton Friedman

    Redistribution policies will certainly reduce income inequality. But why is inequality of income a problem in the first place? For many a politician (or writer), inequality is the fuel to generate mass popular appeal in their own pursuit of power. If the campaign to end inequality ignites your passion, you are the fuel.
    Reducing income inequality is not the same as improving the quality of living for the masses.
    A redistributive system slows innovation on quality of life improvments. Further, redistributive policies rely on the wisdom of the ‘redistributor.’ Freedom to choose those resources has been moved to the beaurocrat and politician.
    My dear country, it is not equality you yearn for. Your desire is freedom.

    Reply
  3. John Pappas5 months ago

    Mr. Burzillos the best!

    Reply
  4. Sally Edelstein5 months ago

    With income inequality becoming the defining issue in this country today, a look at the the stark division seen in vintage Depression era advertising seems oddly familiar.
    As banks were failing, home evictions seem oblivious to the crumbling economy around them rising, and breadlines at soup kitchens lengthening, winter meant only one thing to those with deep pockets- a winter vacation as ads for winter cruises, ski vacations ran along side ads for budget saving meals.
    While rampant unemployment and poverty became more and more common the wealthy lived in a world that remained insular arrogant and out of touch. Sound familiar? Take a look wp.me/p2qifI-23J

    Reply
  5. Juan Reynoso5 months ago

    1- Free trade – outsourcing- imports and the huge trade deficits. Since Ronald Reagan, Every president, worked like termites to destroy our jobs and the future of the American working class, no jobs, lower wages and the making of the U.S. Economic demise.
    forward.com/articles/183842/the-…
    economyincrisis.org/content/lack… mercatus.org/features/how-us-deb…
    businessweek.com/debateroom/arch…

    Reply
  6. Juan Reynoso5 months ago

    THIS IS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HOUSING BUBBLE AND THE START OF THIS ECONOMIC CRISIS
    Bill Clinton’s “American Dream” was the Clinton initiative to fix the unemployment created by the free trade agenda. The National Homeownership Strategy, “The American Dream (“Strategy”), which was compiled in 1995 by Bill Clinton, Henry Cisneros, President Clinton’s HUD Secretary and Alan Greenspan, While the underlying initiatives of the [Strategy] were broad in content, the main theme was the relaxation of credit standards to create jobs. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is also one of the causes of the 2007 recession; by the lenders relaxed lending standards in an effort to meet CRA commitments, between 1994 and 2007 their loan commitments were a massive $4.5 trillion. The one person most singly responsible for the housing bubble in the U.S. is Bill Clinton, but also to blame are the borrowers that could borrow even 99 percent of their house investments. The investment banks preferred sub-prime loans, as they earned high revenue due to high risk; poorer ratings yield higher interest rates. This massive credit flow drove demand in the housing sector, helping expand the bubble. Mortgage regulations were relaxed and there were huge profits in the financial sector; some stock prices tied to real estate and financial firms skyrocketed. The leverage ratio during the bubble also was very high, as banks borrowed heavily to give loans.
    reason.com/archives/2012/10/14/c… nypost.com/2012/09/05/bubba-the-…
    newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-shepp…
    factreal.wordpress.com/2012/09/0…

    Reply
  7. Asif6 months ago

    I agree with the above analysis, I don’t know the credibility of the research but I can feel the difference …… I believe that all the damage been done by the people within the US. The US debt GDP ratio is getting worse day by day….. people need to think about this serious issue.

    Reply
  8. RD Bhatia6 months ago

    True it is a big problem. In India, in good olden days, during the rule of Chandragupt Maurya’s rule, only one profession was allowed foe one person but now the conditions have changed. We cannot bring back those days. There was practically no technology those-days whereas these-days every thing is technology.

    Reply
  9. John leary6 months ago

    As the saying goes, “lies, damn lies and then there’s statistics”. With no disrespect to Professor Saez, are there any other (even partly qualified) researchers who have different measures that could be used to depict “income inequality in the USA” ? Are there any dissenters, even those who would re-phrase the question because the answer tells nothing about the quality of life in the USA that is derived from “money.”
    The reason that I ask the above is that it occurs to me that there are very many (more?) Americans in 2012 whose quality of life does not depend on “income” as one might have measured it in 1920 or even 1960. Are IRS based payments to low income folks, food stamps, welfare payments of all kinds, services for the poor, lost-income by military service members (some of whom are paid at the poverty level), and a host of other factors, like unemployment benefits, considered in Prof Saez analysis of “income?”
    Then there is the “low gross – high net” phenomena: I make much less than many of my peers, but I live well, because I spend much much less, and do not “need” jewelry, vacations, memberships in golf, tennis and swimming clubs, etc. Does my income measure my quality of life as an American, or somehow provide a “hurt index” for my lifestyle. I think not, and I believe that there are many like me.
    Lastly, while I hate to admit it, I have “broken” many of the ten commandments, but I respect them all. The tenth is one that, to date at least, I have managed to keep. Is even the Pope encouraging “coveting thy neighbor’s goods” when he decries “income inequality”, or does this phrase somehow not address “thy neighbor’s goods?”

    Reply
  10. ReidH6 months ago

    How American’s can’t be shocked by the widening gap is beyond me, maybe as the divide is accelerating and pounding the middle class, people might pay attention. We live in a time when corporate profits are historically high and if you examine the P&L close enough, it boils down to increased productivity and cost containment measures. CEO’s obsess over the next quarter and shareholder equity. They press management for more profit and anymore that means taking from staff professionals and mid managers who are working longer hours, are getting fewer perks and earning the same or even less than they earned ten years ago. It seems everything is examined for cost reduction, right down to the TP in the mens. When obtuse profits trump even employee satisfaction, it’s a very sick place and time to live in. When does it stop? When the masses can no longer afford to shop at Wall Mart.

    Reply
    1. Paul Roden6 months ago

      How much profit is enough for these corporations and the rich 1% really need? How much to sustain their businesses and their opulent lifestyle? How many more summer homes, yachts, fancy cars and bling do they really need? They just seem to want more and more tax cuts, tax loop holes, tax incentives, reduction in regulations, and tax codes that enable them to hide wealth off shore or cook their books, so they get a rebate and pay no corporate or personal income tax. Where is their “compassionate conservatism”? Where are they going to fly in and out of in the United States airports in their private jets if the runways, control towers, and air traffic control systems are in need of repair and upgrades? On what roads, tunnels, bridges and super highways are they going to drive or ride around in their fancy cars and stretch limos? What type of water do they want to drink, if it is all contaminated with fracking and radioactive wastes? What air are they going to breath? All they seem to care about are themselves. The environment, the middleclass, the poor, the public commons, and public good be damned. The 1% are only in it for themselves. They are greedy and shortsighted.

      Reply
  11. Andrea Ray Smith6 months ago

    I listened to the commentary today on NPR on growing income inequality. I find it fascinating that no one will dare address how our lax immigration policies fuel this fire. When you keep allowing a free pass to impoverished Hispanics (and obviously other groups, not just Hispanics) who are marginally educated and don’t speak English to enter the country and cash in on our out of control welfare system you create education inequality, housing inequality, health inequality…it goes on and on. I saw this up close and personal while working for the YMCA in a neighborhood in Austin Texas for 4 years with the highest levels of poverty, diversity, crime, obesity, low test scores…the list goes on. Even with the City throwing millions at this neighborhood to lift people up and control crime, the area still is spiraling out of control. Yes, people should have opportunities for a better life, we’re a nation of immigrants, etc., etc., but at some point it comes down to simple math. You can’t keep letting in legions of immigrants that totally drain the welfare system and not expect these problems to persist. Other countries have tighter restrictions on immigration and the United States has become a laughingstock to the rest of the world. At what point are we FULL.

    Reply
  12. Billd6 months ago

    Good information from a good company.
    Keep it up & thanks.

    Reply
  13. k. marotta6 months ago

    This would all be even more illuminating if we could know

    1. HOW the top fraction came suddenly to be almost the only paid or self-paid help in the country, and

    2. Why Americans don’t find the shifting of the country into a plutocracy [or the reversion of the country to the old plantation model of the US South, which we thought we had rejected at horrible cost in our harrowing Civil War] when it is no longer possible to elect a president UNLESS he is in the plutocrat pocket — indeed, s/he can’t even CAMPAIGN otherwise — is a matter of concern.

    Reply
  14. Rich Carter7 months ago

    I just want to be able to pay my bills and buy food. I want a safe place to sleep. These are basic things in life and they are getting harder and harder to achieve. I have worked twenty years in the machine trades. The real cost of living is the problem. Gas $3+ a gallon. Fruit and vegetables sold by weight and not the piece. Have you noticed that the stores saturate the product with misters? They inject 10% salt solution into our chickens and who knows what they do yo the other meats. This is the real reason why paychecks do not go so far..fix this trend in agriculture and you will feed america.

    Reply
  15. Troy Jones7 months ago

    Mr. Morse has a point. It would be difficult to accumulate an average of $21,700 per year
    with pay of $16,000 ($8/Hr) per year. Some very lucky investments and a lot of OT maybe. Maybe he lived with parents and saved all of his earnings. If he saved $10k/yr…
    $10,000 the first year; $20,600 the second; $31,236;… It mounts up fast.

    Reply
  16. John Ley7 months ago

    Gap is to a large extent: education and family unity. Black America is consistently at
    the bottom, but single mothers do not produce Rhode scholars, or business oriented
    citizens. Family support, education and unity vital to success of Mormons or Jewish Americans. NO poll ever includes wealth, family, education, Religion. Obama and government lumps them all together by income to bash or support laws based ONLY on income. How about a survey incorporating factors leading to the income differences. Let’s not talk about the one or two exceptions you know, talk about the bottom thirty or forty million citizens who are voting citizens.

    Reply
  17. Tom7 months ago

    I think you should all know that making 500K a year and owning a 2Mil dollar home does not make me happy. Having family and friends who I love, and who love me that makes me happy. And making money compromised that.
    I was much happier when I made 14K a year. Life was simplier. I had more time to spend with people. All this preoccupation with wealth redistribution and making more money doesn’t better people’s lives. Having more money and having more “things” actually impedes happiness, I’ve found.
    I wasted all these years putting in long hours and making more money for what? I should have focused on family and friends and just having enough money for the basics. Trust me, the Warren Buffets and Bill Gates of this world aren’t happier than you or I.
    Savor the relationships in your life and don’t let the idea that you SHOULD have MORE money make you unhappy.

    Reply
    1. slk6 months ago

      news flash – the gap will always get wider!!! as long as you have those who strive to better themselves, vs those who expect, and do nothing, the gap will widen!!! fortunately, lbj can’t see, that he’s losing the war on poverty!!! you want to shrink the gap, find some way to institute deflation!!!

      Reply
  18. Donald Brown7 months ago

    Well, I know a Wal-Mart greeter who has grown savings to a half million dollars in 23 years by saving his money on slightly more than the minimum wage. Of course the profligate will want to tax his income for their benefit.

    Reply
    1. R.T. Morse7 months ago

      Prove It! (Show your Work)

      Reply
  19. Tom7 months ago

    I started out poor. Making 14K a year as a young man. But I worked hard over the years, and now I make 500K a year and own a 2Mil dollar home. No handouts. No one wealthy in my family. Capitalism is sort of like Darwinism in my mind…survival of the fittest.

    Reply
    1. SP7 months ago

      That’s great Tom. Congratulations! But working hard is not directly correlated to earning a lot of money. That’s why poor and hard working people, that sometimes work 2 jobs, are still poor and don’t make 500K a year. And that’s very unfortunate.

      Reply
      1. Bobby7 months ago

        Working smart and hard is the trick.That has to start early in life to get the smart half or just be lucky and be born that way.

        Reply
        1. k. marotta6 months ago

          You mean like G, W. Bush?

          Reply
    2. creageous7 months ago

      The trouble is that self-made individuals like yourself think that anybody can do the same. It’s simply not true.

      Reply
    3. Scott Meilyk6 months ago

      creagous said it best: You should be thankful for the advantages and the society that enabled your wealth. This is why it’s time for the rich to pay their fair share and finally give back to the society that helped bring about their success. It’s morally right and economically sound.

      Reply
  20. Joe G7 months ago

    I think you need to explain how redistribution policies make income inequality worse.

    Reply
    1. Benjamin David Steele7 months ago

      Why would they explain something that isn’t true? Why did the middle class grow and income inequality shrink when all those government programs were equalizing the previous oppressive inequality? Many people made it into the middle class simply because of the GI Bill alone, and that was just one of many similar programs.

      Reply
    2. Scott Meilyk6 months ago

      Some current policies that steal from the poor and middle class to further line the pockets of the super-rich exacerbate the problem. That’s why it’s finally time for the rich to pay their fair share, to raise the minimum wage to a LIVING wage, to tax capital gains like any other income, to bring in real universal single-payer healthcare, etc., etc.

      Reply
  21. Winston Smith7 months ago

    The 2nd point from the OCED is most telling.
    BEFORE government re-distributive programs, income inequality is bad but not among the worst, but AFTER taxes and such, we jump from 10th worst to 2nd worst. In other words, the gubmit is practicing income redistribution, taking from the middle class and giving it to the already wealthy!!

    The current economic system is rigged against those who do not have the money to buy government. It is rigged against the working class, the small business owner, the cubicle dweller, and the family farm. It is sad that so many of us that are among these groups willingly support those who are sucking us dry because they are told that the pain they feel is not coming from above, but rather from those with the least power. It is the “other” that is making them miserable.

    Reply
    1. Benjamin David Steele7 months ago

      Before such programs, inequality was extremely bad. That is the whole point of this article. Did you actually look at the data? Do you really think the Gilded Age was a utopia?

      Reply
  22. Matt B7 months ago

    The return of income and wealth inequality to pre-depression levels closely follows the loss of clout by labor unions since the 1980′s. The Dickension horrors of the early industrial revolution gave rise to unions, and as the power of unions wanes, the divide widens. Of course, the exploiting of workers by the upper classes also gave rise to several revolutions around the world. If we allow market forces total freedom in dictating wages and working conditions, we will be facing the same responses again.

    Reply
    1. Bobby7 months ago

      Unions did well till they found out they could use the dues to buy political favor and the politicians saw they could use the unions .A good example are the government Unions in Wisconsin and how their insurance cost was inflated because of the Union run insurance the Union selected.The Car business is a good example of good gone bad also.

      Reply
  23. Dave7 months ago

    Oh, and the minimum wage should be tied to inflation. If you are on Soc Sec it is adjusted every year for inflation, so is the pay of Congressmen. but the Min wage stays stuck for years.
    Also if the min wage went to $10 or $12, workers at fast food places and Walmart would not need to collect food stamps as much so that would save the middle class taxpayer money.

    Reply
    1. Betty6 months ago

      the min. wage was instituted in 1938. throughout history , when the min. wage is raised the unemployment goes up. If the min. wage is raised to $10-12 , there would be less people being hired. small businesses would go out of business/ or would not be able to start. Most people earning the min wage are young, inexperienced, lack skills, and need an entry level job to get the means to gain these attributes so as to go up the ladder. Inequality of wages can be closed through better education, promoting strong families, good values, self reliance, and an attitude that is positive rather than that of victim. One of the top executives at Walmart started in a minimum wage job. There are many highly successful people who started with hopes, dreams, determination, a willingness to work long hours,study, and sacrifice present desires for the goals they set. It is fine to help those who are truly in need and/or incapable of helping themselves., but for those of us who applied our selfs even though coming from a very limited background, are tired of the whining.

      Reply
  24. Dave7 months ago

    If the minimum wage were increased to say $10 an hour that would give minimum wage workers about $100 a week more. They would spend all of it. thus helping the economy by stimulating it, probably by about $50 Billion a year. On the other hand if you cut taxes to the rich by $50 Billion a year probably almost none of it would go into the economy. Instead it would go into banks, most likely in the Cayman Islands or Switzerland, When someone is making a million a year or $53 million – like my bank’s CEO – they are not going to spend an extra $100,000 or $250,000, they are already have more than they can possibly spend. It needs to go to people who will put it into the economy, buying stuff that others make, thus creating jobs.

    Reply
  25. Bruce7 months ago

    More and more of the wealth at the top is held in financial instruments — investments tied not to manufacturing but to other financial instruments. Think collateralized debt obligations, so-called CDO-squared, etc. Then there are the investments tied to employment in other countries: an unavoidable result of the global economy and technological advances, to be sure, but investments that generate wealth to the 1% – 2% here, but take wealth away from the lower 20%. And then there are the IT people who develop a great new app and sell it for billions of dollars. These firms employ very few people but are heavily capitalized. People who disparage wealth/income-inequality as unimportant or non-existent are painting with too broad a brush. Yes, there will always be people who are much richer than others. But the current system is creating a two-tiered of the super-rich and everyone else. In this sense it is like the economy immediately preceding the Progressive Era, and perhaps a new kind of Progressivism can create greater opportunity. I’m not optimistic.

    Reply
  26. dtg7 months ago

    Increasing subsidies to Food Stamps, S.S. Disability, Welfare, etc. will retard the growth of the bottom 20%. Always has, always will. The top 10% will always advance with Real GDP growth. The spread is going to get wider unless we get rid of liberal policies toward poverty.

    Reply
    1. joeg7 months ago

      So you’re saying that that’s why income inequality is getting worse? Somehow I don’t think that’s it: I think that it’s more the tax policies that favor the rich, who obviously aren’t being taxed in proportion to their good fortune. The rich are getting richer because they’ve bought legislators, jurists, and commentators who keep lying to the poor that all they need to do is work harder to advance. For 99% of people with a lot of money, they got it by inheriting it and holding on to it.

      Reply
      1. Betty6 months ago

        you need to check your facts.

        Reply
        1. Betty6 months ago

          For 99% of people with a lot of money, they got it by inheriting it and holding on to it.
          Reply. not true

          Reply
  27. Jon7 months ago

    I’m confused about Social Security being an income transfer policy. the ceiling is capped at $133,000 the last I heard, so these are taxes from the working class going back into the working class. no transfer there. might be a good idea to remove the cap so we can have a bit of “transfer” from the rich to the poor.

    Reply
    1. Dave7 months ago

      That is so right Jon. You and I pay 6.2% on all of our income, 100% of it, for Soc Sec taxes. But the really wealthy pay almost nothing. Take Mitt Romney with an income of about $21 Million. He pays around .0001% of his income in Soc Sec taxes!! Why should we pay an additional 6.2% in taxes than the really wealthy – who already pay at a much lower rate? The average American pays about 30% of his income in taxes. The top 1 or 2 % pay about 16% and the really wealthy, like Mitt pay around 12%.
      If everyone paid Soc Sec taxes on ALL of their income. We would not have to worry about Soc Sec forever. In fact Soc Sec taxes could probably be reduced to 4% or even less. That would be much fairer all around.

      Reply
      1. Marsha7 months ago

        I was just about to bring up Mitt Romney myself. As a self-employed person, I have it even worse. I have no one to match my FICA so I have to pay it all. My effective tax rate is 25% because I am self employed and I earn income rather live on capital gains. If only I was at the 12% Mitt is at. Of course, the treatment of capital gains and the tax rate on hedge funds returns is the kind of “redistribution” to the wealthy that takes place in our tax policy. Mitt and his ilk can make all the money they want from hedge fund investments. But it is only fair that it be taxed as income. Just this one change in tax policy alone could produce billions in revenue. But the poor, poor billionaires feel like they are being picked on for being job creators. Tell me again how they create jobs? And tell me how taxing them fairly would make them less willing to invest and earn billions?

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      2. John leary6 months ago

        If a millionaire pays 6% on his income to Social Security, he pays $60,000. In my forty plus years of working there were decades when I didn’t earn anywhere near that much. Point is, an EQUAL payment to Social Security is fair .. from the view of what the “pot needs from each player”. You wouldn’t ask the winners in a poker game to ante up ten times as much as the losers, would you?
        Tithing is a nice idea, and indeed it would put much more money into the Social Security pot. Then the question arises, do we allow payments, once eligible, to exceed some measure of personal contributions. Ok, lets. But then how much greater? Should we let deadbeats retire on SS payments as if they were hard working miners, or auto workers, or stock brokers ?
        Social Security is a ponzi scheme (where costs are passed to coming generations), and a losing one (because the number of possible payers in future generations is decreasing, just like the poker game where all the winners quit, and then you get a good hand, but then there’s no money to win.)
        What’s worse is that some folks just don’t live long enough to collect Social Security? How unfair is that, especially if an insurance actuary can predict with good accuracy for large groups, who will live to collect and who will not. (More black men die before collecting than white men — check out that hidden fact.)
        The worst thing about Social Security is this: when it built up large so-called “surpluses”, rather than let them stay in SS and earn money for future generations, CONGRESS raided the pot and spent the money on “great society” welfare programs. If you give the poor their payments too soon, then their “banked inheritance” goes to zero and there is no “income for them later”
        Lots of problems with Social Security AND none of them will be solved by having millionaires pay more money into the program. Fix CONGRESS, and somehow convince all of your daughters to bear at least two children and raise them to work for a living, and most SS problems will go away.

        Reply
    2. Bobby Lawndale7 months ago

      Jon, let me unconfuse you. What retirees receive is only somewhat related to what they paid in. Those who pay in the most (i.e. high income earners who meet or exceed the cap each year), receive the worst return via benefits. Low income earners receive the best return. Clear now?

      Reply
      1. SP7 months ago

        Except that the person who paid the most will get a bigger SS check than the person who paid the least. Yes, they will get some bump up, but we shouldn’t punish everyone for not being a top earner. I think every poor person would like to make over 100K, but sadly they don’t and in most cases it’s not cause they’re not working hard enough.

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        1. Mike Petrik7 months ago

          Sure, but that doesn’t alter the fact that Social Security operates on a net basis as an income transfer. Indeed it is a hybrid defined benefit plan and welfare program. The Dems like the latter, and the GOPs indulge the former as long as the latter is not too pronounced. I don’t really have a problem with this hybrid, but the idea that failing to transfer part of person A’s ROI to person B’s ROI would be “punishing” person B strikes me as worse than silly, but then I don’t think like a progressive.

          Reply
          1. Betty6 months ago

            I am glad there is someone out there that understands the system.

    3. Bobby7 months ago

      You would need to cap the pay out or the rich would get more of the pay out based on their higher contribution.

      Reply
  28. mike anderson7 months ago

    Wealth in significant chunks makes job growth because with the trend today for mega government and mega business it is almost impossible for someone with a small wealth to get a business started.
    Last, this trend socially would be comparable to the number of households with a single female head. Moral issues also play in to this.

    Reply
  29. Henegar Homestead7 months ago

    This proves the point that statistics can be graphically manipulated to fit any notion. The wealthy are doing well, as they always have, and the poor can’t eat this post.

    Reply