Sunday, May 15, 2005

Income Distribution

Reading Kevin's post about income inequality and browsing through the Paul Krugman article he cites inspired me to take another look at the Piketty and Saez article on income distribution. It's pretty striking and figured I'd pass along some of the information they unearthed.

This first figure is the share of income received by those in the 99.0-99.5, 99.5-99.9, and 99.9-100.0 income groups:

As their share of income goes up, that of everyone else has to go down. In fact, real wages for the middle class has stagnated over the last 30 years or so, while the richest .01% has increased over 5 times. Now I'm all for capitalist incentives, but worry, as Krugman does that we may have a society "whereby a small group of wealthy but untalented children controls vast segments of the US economy and penniless, talented children simply can't compete." If we want to stay economically competitive, then we should help promote our best and brightest, not just those born into wealth. This isn't class warfare, it's just common sense.

Since we seem to love to hate France these days, it's worth seeing how we compare:

Oh, and by the way, France has health care for all.

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