Rising Income Inequality and the Bush Administration: It’s a Bug, Not a Feature

At least, that’s what the latest CBO data suggest. Paul Krugman summarizes the change in after-tax income between 2003-2005:

Here’s what the numbers say about percentage gains in after-tax income from 2003 to 2005:
Bottom quintile: 2%
Next quintile: 2.4%
Middle quintile: 3.9%
Fourth quintile: 3.7%
Top quintile: 16%
Top 10%: 20.9%
Top 5%: 27.7%
Top 1%: 43.5%
It was a boom, all right — but only for a few people.

Once you get to the top fifth it gets very interesting. Compare the top quintile increase of 16% to the top tenth increase of 20.9%. When you consider that the top quintile contains the top tenth, it becomes obvious that the ‘second’ tenth, those who fall in the 11-20% highest incomes, has actually seen its income increase far less than 16%. Factor in that the people in the top tenth make far more than those in the second tenth, and the second tenth’s increase is even lower. The same principle applies as you compare other nested income brackets.
If you’re tempted to embrace your Inner Ayn Rand, and accuse me of envy, keep in mind that you, too, are competing with the top incomes for extraneous things like housing and college education. Whenever I read that half of the student body of some prestigious college receives financial aid, that means the other half can plunk down $50,000 cash on the barrelhead. And the reason your bill costs so much is that there are enough customersstudents who can afford to pay this (when you realize that families with more than one child often have overlapping college students, this sum can double or triple for at least one year). If very few students could afford to pay these sums, tuitions would drop. This would have, dare I say it, a trickle-down effect to cheaper state schools, so even if you are paying for a public university, you’re still affected by this.
Just something to consider.
One more thing: this shit doesn’t happen when Democrats run things.

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1 Response to Rising Income Inequality and the Bush Administration: It’s a Bug, Not a Feature

  1. natural cynic says:

    The title: Don’t you mean “It’s a feature, not a bug.” I don’t think it’s been an acident.

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