I forgot to add this question to the America quiz. It’s actually among the most important questions. Reading Paul Buchheit on Common Dreams a few days ago reminded me of it.
11. Since several polls have shown that close to ten percent of Americans believe they are in the top one percent of wage earners, and close to a quarter of Americans believe they are in the top five percent, the question is how much money to you have to make in a year to really be in the top one percent and the top five percent?
Buchheit gives the answer to the top one percent, quoted below. And to be in the top five percent you need to make at least $150,000 a year.
So when you hear people talk about the struggling rich, remind them that the top one percent is doing just fine thank you, and have done fantastic in the last 30 years compared to everyone else.
But based on 1980 dollars and IRS data, this is how U.S. income has been redistributed since that time:
- Incomes for the top 1% have gone from $148,000 to $450,000
- Incomes for the next 9% have gone from $46,000 to $50,000
- Incomes for the next 40% have gone from $17,500 to $15,000
- Incomes for the bottom 50% have gone from $5,400 to $3,750