Shutterstock

Since the 2008 crash, the rich have bounced back just a little bit faster than everyone else.

In the economic recovery since the 2008 crash, the rich have bounced back just a little bit faster than everyone else.

That is to say, that for the first time in recorded history, the richest 10 percent of families received half of all income in 2012. This figure, which comes from an annual income inequality study by prominent economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, illustrates that "even after the recession the country remains in a kind of new Gilded Age."

The chart below shows the record gain:

You can see that in 2012, top 10 percent income share creeps above 50 percent for the first time. 

Since the Great Recession, the rich have simply had an easier time getting back what they lost. Senior Brookings Institution fellow Justin Wolfers notes from the study that in the years since the crash (2009-2012), the average income of the top one percent has risen 31.4 percent, while the average income of the other 99 percent has risen only 0.4 percent. Saez, a professor at UC-Berkeley, wrote in his analysis, 

These results suggest the Great Recession has only depressed top income shares temporarily and will not undo any of the dramatic increase in top income shares that has taken place since the 1970s.

There is a little bit of hope for the 99 percenters: while income growth was stagnant from 2009-2011, it started growing again in 2012. But only by about 1 percent. 

Wolfers cautions, however, that "it's easy to wring your hands about inequality. Easier still, to laugh at apologists. Much harder to find policies yielding inclusive growth." 

Top image: Andresr/Shutterstock.com

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  2. Transportation

    How Media Coverage of Car Crashes Downplays the Role of Drivers

    Safety advocates have long complained that media outlets tend to blame pedestrians and cyclists who are hit by cars. Research suggests they’re right.

  3. photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.
    Life

    The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

    Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

  4. photo: an Uber driver.
    Perspective

    Did Uber Just Enable Discrimination by Destination?

    In California, the ride-hailing company is changing a policy used as a safeguard against driver discrimination against low-income and minority riders.

  5. photo: a commuter looks at a small map of the London Tube in 2009
    Maps

    Help! The London Tube Map Is Out of Control.

    It’s never been easy to design a map of the city’s underground transit network. But soon, critics say, legibility concerns will demand a new look.

×