Wednesday, October 27, 2010

David Cay Johnston: scary new wage data

David Cay Johnston has unearthed two new, and quite surprising, wage shockers from the U.S.
The average wage in this top category increased from $91.2 million in 2008 to an astonishing $518.8 million in 2009. That’s nearly $10 million in weekly pay!

You read that right. In the Great Recession year of 2009 (officially just the first half of the year), the average pay of the very highest-income Americans was more than five times their average wages and bonuses in 2008. And even though their numbers shrank by 43 percent, this group’s total compensation was 3.2 times larger in 2009 than in 2008, accounting for 0.6 percent of all pay. These 74 people made as much as the 19 million lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight workers."
and then the second shocker:
Total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined . . . Not a single news organization reported this data when it was released October 15, searches of Google and the Nexis databases show. Nor did any blog, so the citizen journalists and professional economists did no better than the newsroom pros in reporting this basic information about our economy.
Well, we're doing our bit here, we hope. Along with Tax Prof., who posted this. The historical background?
The story the numbers tell is one of a strengthening economic base with income growing fastest at the bottom until, in 1981, we made an abrupt change in tax and economic policy. Since then the base has fared poorly while huge economic gains piled up at the very top, along with much lower tax burdens.
And, from this article, we will add this to our quotations page:
a society in which commas — it takes three to be a billionaire — count more than character


Blogger davidcay said...

Thanks for the mention. My Tax Notes column with numerous charts and tables is available free at

5:47 am  
Blogger Reliable Rebel said...

this is disgusting

6:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said... Goes some way to explaining half the numbers...

3:06 am  

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