Speaking of high earners

Larry Mishel and Nicholas Finio of the Economic Policy Institute have some new numbers out today on how high earners have been faring in the economic recovery. Not too surprisingly, they appear to be doing just fine, thank you.

The whole report is worth a read, but I want to call attention to one chart from their analysis:

Share of wages going to top earners, 1947-2011

Source: Mishel and Finio (2013).

The figure shows the share of total annual wages received by the top one percent and the top 0.1 percent of earners, from 1947 through 2011. The rise since the 1970s is striking. But, equally important, is that the share of earnings going to the top was constant or even falling for several decades after World War II –a period of rapid growth when workers at the bottom and the middle were just as likely as those at the top to share in the economy’s gains.

There is nothing inherently American about high and rising inequality.

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