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Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot, Mother Jones: It’s the Inequality, Stupid — Eleven charts that explain everything that’s wrong with America

 

It’s the Inequality, Stupid — Eleven charts that explain everything that’s wrong with America
by Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot, March/April 2011 Issue
Illustrations by Jason Schneider

Want more rage? We’ve got 11 charts exposing the dirty secrets of the jobless recovery.

A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

Note: The 2007 data (the most current) doesn’t reflect the impact of the housing market crash. In 2007, the bottom 60% of Americans had 65% of their net worth tied up in their homes. The top 1%, in contrast, had just 10%. The housing crisis has no doubt further swelled the share of total net worth held by the superrich.

Winners Take All
The superrich have grabbed the bulk of the past three decades’ gains.

Out of Balance
A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable

Capital Gain
Why Washington is closer to Wall Street than Main Street.

 

Who’s in the Kitchen?

member of congress est. net worth
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) $451.1 million
Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) $435.4 million
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) $366.2 million
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) $294.9 million
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) $285.1 million
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) $283.1 million
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) $231.2 million
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) $201.5 million
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) $136.2 million
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) $108.1 million

 

Who’s Winning?
For a healthy few, it’s getting better all the time.

Your Loss, Their Gain
How much income have you given up for the top 1 percent?

Sources

Income distributionEmmanuel Saez (Excel)

Net worth: Edward Wolff (PDF)

Household income/income share: Congressional Budget Office

Real vs. desired distribution of wealth: Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely (PDF)

Net worth of Americans vs. Congress: Federal Reserve (average); Center for Responsive Politics(Congress)

Your chances of being a millionaire: Calculation based on data from Wolff (PDF); US Census (household and population data)

Member of Congress’ chances: Center for Responsive Politics

Wealthiest members of Congress: Center for Responsive Politics

Tax cut votes: New York Times (SenateHouse)

Wall street profits, 2007-2009: New York State Comptroller (PDF)

Unemployment rate, 2007-2009: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Home equity, 2007-2009: Federal Reserve, Flow of Funds data, 1995-2004 and 2005-2009 (PDFs)

CEO vs. worker pay: Economic Policy Institute

Historic tax rates: Calculations based on data from The Tax Foundation

Federal tax revenue: Joint Committee on Taxation (PDF)

Read also: Kevin Drum on the decline of Big Labor, the rise of Big Business, and why the Obama era fizzled so soon.

More Mother Jones charty goodness: How the rich get richerhow the poor get poorer;who owns Congress?

Dave Gilson is a senior editor at Mother Jones. Read more of his stories, follow him onTwitter, or contact him at dgilson (at) motherjones (dot) com. Get Dave Gilson’s RSS feed.

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