<\body> Stories in America: The rich get richer

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The rich get richer

and the poor stand in five hour lines for food you probably wouldn't eat:
In 2007, the CEOs of America's top 500 companies made a total of $7.5 billion, or $15.7 million apiece. The average compensation of a CEO in 1980 was about 42 times that of the average worker in the company; in 2005, it was about 411 times.

Tammy Buckley, a food pantry volunteer, hands out food on a cold morning. Most people in line will get bread and a few cans of carrots, beans and peas. (Tribune photo by Nancy Stone / February 25, 2008)


At 3/05/2008 3:18 PM, Anonymous john said...

There's Rich, and There's the 'Fortunate 400'
March 5, 2008; Page D1
The really rich keep getting richer.
The nation's top 400 taxpayers reported a total of $85.6 billion of income on their federal income-tax returns for 2005 -- an average of $213.9 million apiece, according to Internal Revenue Service data obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
Just to make the cutoff to join this exclusive club, you had to report income of at least $100.3 million, up sharply from $74.5 million the previous year. The average income among the top 400 in 2004 was $172.8 million.
"It's another piece of evidence pointing to the rapidly growing concentration of income in the U.S.," says Joel Slemrod, professor of economics at the Ross School of Business of the University of Michigan. He refers to the group as "the Fortunate 400."

Indeed, the top 400 taxpayers have greatly increased their share of individuals' income since the mid-1990s. The group accounted for 1.15% of total income in 2005, up from 1.02% the prior year -- and more than twice as large as its 0.49% share a decade earlier. It's the highest percentage since the early 1990s, which is as far back as the IRS data go.
Even after adjusting for inflation, the minimum amount of income required to make the top-400 list has nearly tripled since 1992.
"Those numbers are really stunning," says Michael Graetz, a professor of law at Yale Law School and a Treasury Department official under President George H. W. Bush. "One hundred million dollars is an enormous estate to be accumulated over a lifetime, and not what we think of as one year's income for anybody."

At 3/07/2008 2:44 PM, Blogger JACK BOO said...

I keep seeing posts here that suggest a belief in the notion that the American economic structure is a zero-sum environment. It's not, and never was. In any case, the cure would be far worse than the disease...Unless you think the world of Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" represents some sort of Utopian vision of the way the world should work.

Good post on this subject here....


At 3/13/2008 3:12 PM, Blogger JACK BOO said...

And don't forget, it's not just CEO's that have the money it's takes to frequent The Ambassador's Club.


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