Yet Another Reason to Believe That Income Inequality Has Skyrocketed Recently

Here’s another reason I think the rise of income inequality is real. If income inequality had stayed about the same over the past few decades, then you’d expect wealth inequality to stay roughly the same too. But that’s not what’s happened:

Measurement of wealth has its own problems, but it doesn’t suffer from possible tax changes that might mask its actual value. And since this is presented as a multiple of median wealth, issues of the proper inflation rate don’t come into play. Nor does non-cash income.

In just three decades, the wealth of the top 1 percent has nearly tripled compared to the median. This is consistent with a considerable increase in income compared to the median. It is not consistent with the idea that the income of the top 1 percent hasn’t changed, but only seems like it has. One way or another, all this extra wealth came from real income.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

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.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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