The Rich Are Rebounding Nicely, Thank You Very Much

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The wealthy took a big hit during the Great Recession, but have they recovered since then? In a word, yes. Emmanuel Saez updates his statistics for income gains among the rich and the rest:

Top 1% incomes grew by 11.6% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.2%. Hence, the top 1% captured 93% of the income gains in the first year of recovery…It is likely that this uneven recovery has continued in 2011 as the stock market has continued to recover…This suggests that the Great Recession will only depress top income shares temporarily and will not undo any of the dramatic increase in top income shares that has taken place since the 1970s.

The chart below shows income gains among top earners. Even there, recovery has been uneven. Income rebounded nicely for the top 1%, but that’s about it. Even the merely well off, those with incomes over $100,000, gave back some of the small gains of the past couple of years. As with past recessions, the very richest took the steepest hit at first, but within a few years they’ll probably bounce back to even higher peaks than before. Mike Konczal has more here.

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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