Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Rich Get Richer

Wonder when that trickle down theory will kick in. Any second now... right?

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, both based in Washington, D.C., released a national report, "Pulling Apart: A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends."

Michigan's gap between richest and poorest incomes is right in middle, coming in at 23rd largest in the country.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit think tanks, which receive funding from individuals and groups including the pro-labor Democracy Alliance, found that the rich-poor gap grew in most states over the past two decades. The trend that has accelerated since the late 1990s. Low- and middle-income families have gained little since then, despite recent years of economic prosperity.

Average incomes fell 2.5 percent for those in the bottom fifth of the income scale and rose by 1.3 percent for those in the middle fifth. Incomes climbed 9 percent for those in the top fifth.

Thanks Ron. You too, Bill. And George... what can we say. You are the King of Inequality. From the summary of the report-

The benefits of economic growth were broadly shared for a few years in the late 1990s — the only period in the past two decades for which this was true — but this broad-based growth ended with the 2001 downturn. Once the effects of the recession were left behind, the trend toward greater inequality quickened, as the incomes of the richest families climbed while those of low- and moderate-income families stagnated or declined.

And for Michigan's wealthy, a staggering figure...

The incomes of the poorest fifth of Michigan households have increased 8.9 percent since the late 1980s. In comparison, Michigan households at the highest reaches of the income scale -- the top 5 percent -- enjoyed a 48 percent increase.

Then again, Dick would probably complain about inflation. Probably needs a few more tax cuts to make up for it.

The picture changes for a single decade, measured from the mid-1990s. Michigan wages sagged across all income groups when adjusted for inflation. However, households earning the lowest 20 percent of incomes lost 11 percent on average during the decade, while the top 5 percent of families stayed the same.

And why the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots?

According to the report, reasons for the change in wage inequality include long periods of higher-than-average unemployment, globalization, the shift from manufacturing jobs to low-wage service jobs, immigration, the weakening of unions and the declining value of the minimum wage.

Sounds like the Michigan Republican Party platform.