Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Social inequality in US hits new record

Social inequality in US hits new record
By Bill Van Auken16 October 2007
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The Internal Revenue Service issued a report last week documenting record levels of social inequality in the United States. According to the data released by the IRS, America’s wealthiest 1 percent accounted for 21 percent of all income in 2005, while the bottom 50 percent earned just 12.8 percent of the total national income.

While the share of income taken in by the wealthiest 1 percent rose steeply—up three points from 19 percent in 2004—the share for the half of the population at the bottom of the economic ladder fell during the same period by 0.6 percent.

The IRS data, published in the Wall Street Journal last Friday, are based on “adjusted gross income” reflected in tax returns for 2005. This measure provides a starker and more accurate picture than other indices of the staggering polarization between wealth and poverty in America.

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