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CBO: Income Inequality Jumps
source: Congressional Budget Office

source: Congressional Budget Office

The richest one percent of Americans nearly tripled their incomes between 1979 and 2007, according to a new government report released this week. The income inequality in the country also expanded greatly during that period, according to a study by the Congressional Budget Office.

Source: Congressional Budget Office

Source: Congressional Budget Office

“Another big finding from the CBO report is that public policy has actually become less effective at curbing inequality over time,” notes the Washington Post.

Source: Congressional Budget Office

Source: Congressional Budget Office

On Point has done numerous shows on income inequality, including coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests, poverty in the United States, the lives of the super rich, global instability and income distribution. We’ve also looked at the plight of the middle class, the generation hurt by the recession, Warren Buffett’s solution, and a new push to find foreign buyers for U.S. homes.

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  • Drew You Too

    So over 400 comments on the pointless (my opinion) Cain story today and not one regarding the CBO report? I understand that the story has posted other places and drawn comments, it just floors me that there’s not one single comment here. Maybe I’m not supposed to comment here.

    • Roy Mac

      That’s what has become of this comment board:  90% of the “comments” come from a dozen trolls who probably don’t even listen to the broadcast.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Cain got a show. This topic, which deserves a show, only got a blog post.

  • thegreengrass

    What I think I love most is that reasonable, articulate adults are basically proving that the Occupy people are right.

  • Anonymous

    The OWS represtent an uprising population stressed to the point where the bread and circuses offerred by the ruling class no longer suffice to buy their passive silence.

    The speculator class has yet to recognize that they can’t slaughter milk cows with impunity to maintain a wealthy standard of living. They keep repeating the mantra ‘Tax us less and we will create more jobs.’ That didn’t work under Bush for a decade and is not working now.

    The OWS are not the tea party. The tea party Republicans are a bunch of stuborn bullies co-opted by spin doctors of the Wall Street Republican Elite.

    No amount of corporate news propaganda will change the facts on the ground: what people feel in their pocket books and feel in their stomachs.  The radical right neofeudal ‘holier than thou’ vitriolic, hate-mongering, lame-brained rhertoric doesn’t put food in the kids, gas in the car or heat in the home. 

    The the congress, senate and boardrooms are filled with people who consider themselves above the law, entitled to wealth at any cost, and have no interest in the general health of the nation or it’s People. After 30 years of undoing Roosevelt’s New Deal, and a corresponding decline in the lower and middle classes, I think the jury is being formed.  

    I am a 5%er and know darn well that my value is based as much upon the economic system as my skills and talent. The 1% will feel the effects of the OWS in the coming election and I hope it is akin to the Roosevelt Revolution.  The giant awakens.

  • EdwardBurke

    Sorry to’ve missed the show, I was probably still venting with the folks at The Takeaway over Obama’s student loan forgiveness proposal.
    Chart 2 shown above is what I was looking for without finding it in the WaPo/Bloomberg item online and what was not obvious on the CBO website itself, thanks for pulling it out. It merits close examination in this regard: it seems to show a virtually equivalent rate of increase for the top 1% in BOTH the two terms of the Clinton Administration and the two terms of the Bush Administration: charted on the graph, it looks to the unaided eye like growth rates of almost 150% over both periods. YET OF COURSE, as Rep. Levin tried to explain it just today on The Takeaway, all the credit and all the blame go to the Bush Administration and the Bush tax cuts. HOWEVER, Chart 2 above clearly shows a comparable rate of increase under Clinton. In fact, without examining the actual figures (not their graphical presentation), Chart 2 seems to suggest that the Lowest Quintile’s highest rate of growth occurred NOT under the Clinton Administration but under the Bush Administration!
    Naturally, I wonder if this was highlighted during the show; I rather doubt it, since no other media outlets have picked up on this analysis, either (the WaPo/Bloomberg item was nothing more than a padded headline and offered no substantive examination whatsoever).

  • Mark

    I work as an actuary by profession.

    I would like to understand why the population and the media listen to Politician’s rants about how Soc Sec is failing and it is a ponzi scheme?

    I can tell you, that if payroll taxes, which are normally at 12.4% (6.2% employer and 6.2% employee) were raised to 14.4% (+1% for each employee and employer), Soc Sec would for the most part be fixed.

    I bet you’ve never heard this before?  I think if the media actually spoke with actuaries vs speaking with clueless politicians the  population would be more informed about this issue.

    The republicans are pushing private accounts, which are really a windfall for wall street.

    Can’t you do a show about this and other misconceptions from politicians?

    Thank you

    P.S. Look for yourself, and play the soc sec game on the American Academy of Actuaries website, http://www.actuary.org/socsec.asp

    • Wm. James from Missouri

      I am glad to hear a mathematician speak truth to power !

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      The Right’s MO is to sabotage something by the back door, then pretend they alone can fix it. We see this with SS. Some modest changes as in withholdings or the retirement age can easily fix SS but instead the Right has for years tried to frighten Americans SS won’t be there even as they block common sense fixes. What I fear is Wall Street is the true Ponzi Scheme. People pay good money for a piece of paper hoping it will be worth more in the future. Baby Boomer money has been pouring into Wall Street the past 30 years pumping up stock prices. But soon the Boomers will begin to retire, selling stock. With fewer GenXers out there to keep demand high on these stocks, stock prices are sure to fall. Boomers who invested heavily in the market will find themselves in trouble. Surely Wall Street sees this democratic shift and its effects on demand on the horizon. Privatization of SS could keep this Ponzi Scheme alive for a few more decades.

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    Mr. Ashbrook, and NPR,

    I suggest that you read and research an article in the NewScientist, entitled, “ Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world “The study was conducted by: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich,


    They studied 37 million companies and investors worldwide to arrive at a list of companies that run the world. This is a non political study and used mathematical concepts, including complexity theory in their study.

    As I read the article I realized that this study may give us the tools we have been looking for to understand how we may prevent more financial crashes, as happened in the Lehman Brothers fiasco, strengthen an individual’s investment portfolio and may even give the Occupy Wall Street group meaningful data that will help clarify a complex subject and allow us all to understand how we got to where we are !

    I will post this again, to a more current show.

  • Zero

    So republicans, since the rich are getting richer, when are they going to start trickling down some jobs?

    Here’s an idea: raise taxes on “job creators” in order to actually create jobs. 

    • Zero

      Whom am I kidding?  This is an article about financial inequality: republicans will never face this reality, running from it as much as possible.

      I would be surprised if one republican actually read this report.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Someone should change the URL to the CBO report. It takes us to some Outlook online mail login.

    The correct URL is


    And On Point… it would be useful if the Captcha filter didn’t challange us for posting government or other categories of websites.

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