So what's the big freaking deal about the 1%? Just what exact share of the national income do the top 1% of wealthy Americans bring in?
The answer may surprise you.
The Paris School of Economics has compiled a database of the world's top incomes. You can pull up information from 26 nations around the world from the early 1900's up through 2008.
In that same period, the top 0.5% of income earners increased their share of the national income from 11.7% to 13.8% while the top 0.1% of earners saw their share go from 6.3% to 7.8%.
Now just take a second to let those numbers sink in. In 2008, almost 18 cents out of every dollar earned went to the wealthiest 1% of the U.S. population; almost 14 cents went to the top half of the top one percent and almost eight cents went to the top .01% of the population.
Income inequality in the US is now at about the same level as it was before World War I. And we call that progress.
The numbers are astounding and give us a portrait of the growing inequality in this country.