Sunday, September 14, 2008

Median Income Share Clearly Dropped

First, Census table shows per capita income (comparing apples to apples now) increased 100% from 1967 through 2007).

Census mean family income quintiles table show:
5th quintile mean grew 22.4% over the same span;
4th grew 31.4%;
3rd mean (effectively median) grew 47.3%;
2nd grew 64.6%;
1st (w/o adjusting for top coding) grew 95.8%.

If you play my little top coding adjustment game using per capita income for your overall growth gauge—as described above:
1st quintile income grew 175.4%. (I mis-remembered above that my adjustment supposedly doubled top quintile income—rather it approaches doubling income growth.)

From: 09.14.08 at 6:36 pm on Crooked Timber
PS. If you believe my top code adjustment, then, $262,000 (not $186,000) becomes the mind boggling average (!) income for a mindboggling top 20 percent of families. Look around you -- this stat isn't on the same planet with the same family's median income. Just look at your primary care provider who is struggling these days to make $150,000/yr for extra help figuring this out.

At some point every (asleep at the bargaining table) American (not European) must come to terms with the concept that top 1 percentile earners and especially .1 percentile earners are running away with much more income than can be justified by any concept of economic efficiency -- perhaps extremely the opposite: bottom 50 percentile earners who lost half of the (12.5%) shifted income share take home so little these days that it is stunts their education and for the poorer among them it can even stunt their socialization.

I'm not blaming top earners -- it is just a matter of bargaining pressure physics: if bottom 90 percentile American earners (not Europeans) fall asleep at the bargaining table (no unions or any gigantic interest in same -- 1939 minimum wage up til July last year), someone will take the income they don't want -- just a little no hate tag.

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