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Record US Income Inequality In One Chart

Tyler Durden's picture


It is well-known that US wealth inequality is now at record spreads, thanks to five (and counting) years of Fed-mediated wealth transfer from the poor and middle class to the superrich (while placating the lower social strata with distracting welfare trinkets and EBT). Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the following chart courtesy of just released data by the Social Security administration showing the net compensation breakdown by income bucket for America's 153.6 million workers.

As an aside, in 2012 the average wage was $42,498.21, while the median one was far lower, ot $27,519.10.

But that is a broad average. Narrowing the data down, is what we have done in the chart below which shows that in 2012, the poorest 23.3 million working Americans, who earned between $0.01 and $4,999.99 at  an average net comp of $2,024.79, earned a total of $47.2 billion. And on the other end, we looked at the richest 2,915 Americans who earned $10 million or over in the past year, an average of $22 million per worker, and cumulatively, some $64.3 billion.

In brief: in the past year, the poorest 23.3 million Americans earned 36% less than the richest 2,915 Americans (and less than twice more than the richest 166). Needless to say, this excludes wealth from capital and asset appreciation, usually a benefit reserved exclusively for the latter; it also excludes the amount of taxes paid by either of these two income extremes.

Source: Social Security


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Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:47 | 4122649 Critical Path
Critical Path's picture

Just another mile marker on the road to serfdom

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:48 | 4122652 outamyeffinway
outamyeffinway's picture

These charts don't matter until AFTER the revolution.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:52 | 4122675 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

You are dreaming. There will be no revolution. TPTB have done a great job of dividing the country. If it does finally erupt it will be in the form of an uncivil war. There is no way in hell that the reds and the blues get together to root out the real criminals.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:01 | 4122701 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Maybe in the city where the clueless and flacid print money for themselves. Revolution is individual.  

If a cop points a weapon at Widowmaker for no reason you won't read about it in the news.  (shhhh.)

National [in]security has muddied the water with real masters vs. rentals. If laws don't apply to authority, nothing does to anyone.


Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:09 | 4122723 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Damn that lucky sperm!

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 14:01 | 4123369 zaphod
zaphod's picture

So I am confused?

Half of ZH articles rail on about how lazy and uneducated americans are and how they won't work and prefer to stay on government benefits.

The other half of ZH articles rail on about how the bottom segments of the US make no money compared to the rich and how unfair that is.

Seems to me that if you have large segments of a society unwilling to work, that they probably aren't going to make too much money.

The thing to focus on is the erosion of the middle class. These are the people trying to work hard and save money and do well for their families, but are getting raped by the system.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 15:25 | 4123676 HulkHogan
HulkHogan's picture

I'm confused by your confusion.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 16:13 | 4123874 odatruf
odatruf's picture

I get zaphod's point entirely, and it really is the central question we ought to be thinking about:

Are those at the bottom there because they are lazy or because someone is keeping a boot on their necks?  Similarly, are those at the top there because they worked hard / were innovators / otherwise earned it or because a corrupt system has been created and maintained to keep them there?

Your answers here should significantly shape your world view.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:59 | 4122696 czardas
czardas's picture

I'm not sure who all these posters think is going to revolt.  My neighbors are disgruntled by the debt and administration but the last thing they want is chaos, anarchy and violence.  The near majority who get by via State handouts certainly do not want a revolution.  They would be clueless with more money, never having planned, invested or saved. The super-rich are just fine - no revolt for them, thank you.  Most democrats affirm undying allengiance to huge, authoritarian bureaucracies so mark them off.   

What if they gave a Revolution and nobody showed up?

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:12 | 4122729 DaddyO
DaddyO's picture

Good Observation, but let me add that most in your neighborhood are waiting for someone else to hit the reset button before they engage...

Just look at guns and ammo sales over the past 3 years.


Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:38 | 4122813 czardas
czardas's picture

I continue to insist that the best preparation for future problems is rural land and close neighbors - not guns. I can't actually see myself holding up in a fortress week after week wardng off roving bands of starving madmen or motorcycle ganga while downing noodles.  Worse, no one could stand up to the military or the militarized police if they wanted what you had.  Besides, I no longer think a quick collapse is probable.  The Fed and the government have become near geniuses in deflecting, obfuscating, ignoring, rerouting and squashing problems.  Most likely we face a long, slow denouement. 

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:50 | 4122863 DaddyO
DaddyO's picture

Given the current world position of the Petrodollar, your view has merit.

Let the dollar collapse or become one of many other acceptable currencies and all bets are off...


Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:03 | 4122915 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

Who says it will start from the bottom?  Perhaps the TPTB will eventually decide to simply force the issue due to civil resistance (people not paying taxes, not cooperating, or some other unforeseen disturbance).

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:48 | 4122650 B2u
B2u's picture

Yeah...but the poorest get food stamps, Obamacare and Obama it evens out...

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:22 | 4122773 onewayticket2
onewayticket2's picture

and none of the liability, either. 

last month alone, we put $409,000,000,000.00 of debt on the books....half of america will never be responsible for a dime.  if there was a chart of responsibility to pay for these debts (to pay for stuff going TO the column on the left as you point out) it would be almost entirely in the Right column....


Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:52 | 4122867 hankwil74
hankwil74's picture

Nobody is really on the hook. All you have to do is leave the country and you're debt free.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:06 | 4122927 onewayticket2
onewayticket2's picture

true, but then i'm paying Juan Valdez' bar tab.  which is worse?  the trick is getting out of the 1% and into the bottom 50% where everything's free and there's no liability.  isnt that what Dear Leader wants?  equality of outcome - so we're all in the 50th percentile?

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:06 | 4122929 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

Or we can nullify it.  They (our supposed representatives) have borrowed for their own purposes, not ours.  As such, all of this debt is illegitimate.  Or better, we define the criminal class and hang the debt on them as individuals and institutions (private). 

We just have to take power first.  That's really the hard part.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:48 | 4122651 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Ppfffffttt who cares? The important thing is that them damn gays don't get married.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:56 | 4122683 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

Damn right, the only things that matter on Earth are fag marrage, abortion, smoking dope and fucking the taxpayer.

With priorities like this -- sustainability is inevitable!

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:51 | 4122661 Running On Bing...
Running On Bingo Fuel's picture

I have a GOD given right to prosperity! I'm 'merican. Now where's that fucking 'easy' button.


Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:52 | 4122664 Dexter Morgan
Dexter Morgan's picture

Git the torches!

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:04 | 4122665 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Uber rich Murikans will obviously need to spend moar on private security and barbed wire ...think of South Africa and being surrounded.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 15:32 | 4123696 UpAndComing
UpAndComing's picture

It'll be a very long journey till it has to come to that. "Murikans get their thoughts from the TV. As long as the TV is on, the sheeple are docile and obedient.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:52 | 4122667 Canoe Driver
Canoe Driver's picture

Full time workers don't earn $2000 per year. The chart needs to be adjusted so only full-time workers are reflected.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:52 | 4122671 r101958
r101958's picture

Here is another side; If you confiscated all of the income of both of these groups you would still only net 3% of what the government spends each year. Hmmmm.....

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:05 | 4122689 Rainman
Rainman's picture

...and it also amounts to less than 60 days of Bennybux printing.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:10 | 4122724 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

That is a false argument.  Income is irrelevant. It is total assets that matter.  A tiny percent of the population owns most of the world's assets.   Their "income" is minimal compared to their assets.  But Rush likes your point about income because it distracts from this simple truth that we're being fucked by a few thousand families, most of whom inherited their wealth from the royal great grandparents.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:20 | 4122764 r101958
r101958's picture

It wasn't really an argument. Only a sad fact. There are way too many here that still insist on continuing on with the left vs right paradigm. It is folly. It is a distraction and meant to divide (and most certainly conquer).

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:22 | 4122772 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

So you are saying it is not a fact that a few thousand people control the majority of real assets in the the world, or that you are okay with it because you see it as a Red Team/Blue Team issue?

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:39 | 4122821 bozzy
bozzy's picture

Income is NOT irrelevant.

When all the rents are owned by the banksters and super rich, the only way for the "middle class" to stand a chance to survive is to keep firmly within the system thereby exploiting entitlements, and move every scrap of wealth to hard assets. Inflation not seen as a problem but the "cost" of QE is so perceived? That has to tell you there is no  magic dust. Meanwhile money remains so cheap that its use has no value, yet the freshly printed billions remain firmly at the disposal of the banksters and very few others.

Socially, the west should be looking to the Baltic rather than to the obscene American "Dream". The compression of income scales in Sweden for example, or Norway should be examined carefully in a society where a banker who is lobbed a USD 10m bonus regards it as his or her natural reward for being so smart/aggressive/talented etc etc, and regards a refuse collector as a lower social order. Does anyone really think that the American way is better?

Sack the lying propagandising administration, fork the marionette regulators, and CRANE the all-gaming bankster scum.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:55 | 4122880 aardvarkk
aardvarkk's picture

I've never viewed the "American Dream" as a banker getting a huge bonus.  To me, it's the ability to, if I should so choose, go as far as I can without government interference so long as I don't hurt someone else.  I've never disparaged a garbage man or anyone else.  A year and a half ago I was driving taxi after a long run as a software engineer.  Now I'm a software engineer again.  Who knows what I'll decide to be doing 5 years from now?  I've always wanted to run a business.  Maybe I'll finally do that.  If I can get there, that's the "American Dream".  I could give two shits about the status of the guy I'll need to be paying my building's rent to, either.  Banker or corporation or some guy who used to run a business in that building, it just doesn't matter.

I'm not interested in Sweden or Norway other than as an intellectual exercise.  They have a way of doing things that works for them and that's a good thing.  But trying to transplant it to the US (or China or South Africa or anywhere else where they don't have a lot of umlauts in their writing) is a mistake and a waste of time.

So yes, for Americans I do believe that, overall, the American way is better.

All that said, yes, by all means sack the lying administration, kill 90% of the regulations and keep an eye on the giant financers.  There is nothing uniquely American about lying, libraries of regulations or giant financial pigs and I have no attachment to any of them.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 13:49 | 4123319 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

Mr Aardvarkk, I admire your positive attitude.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:43 | 4123077 birdsonthebat
birdsonthebat's picture

Rand, your comments are, IMO, dead-on. I registered just to make that comment. Seems like everyone needs to learn to stop worrying and love the financial bomb. First comment. Now I'm on the Big Board.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:52 | 4122673 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture



(No one will see it coming!)

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:54 | 4122679 Homo Erectus
Homo Erectus's picture

in the past year, the poorest 23.3 million Americans earned 36% less than the richest 2,915 Americans

I think the real headline here is that the richest Americans, on average, earned 11,000 times more than the poorest. The Bernank should be proud.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:55 | 4122681 q99x2
q99x2's picture

3000 targets for the banksters to go after as they take down America.

A lot easier for them now that the money has been removed from the others.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:55 | 4122684 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

We need more QE to help the poor.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:56 | 4122688 DeliciousSteak
DeliciousSteak's picture

If the poor aren't happy they should just earn money. If the 2,915 can do it, so can you!

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:00 | 4122697 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

You, too, can be born into wealth.

Take my 6-stage crash course on effective wealth managerment, at the humble price of $2,995/session, and I will show you what it takes to become a modern day tycoon.


Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:05 | 4122924 moneybots
moneybots's picture

"If the poor aren't happy they should just earn money. If the 2,915 can do it, so can you!"


Only 2,915 out of 300 million.  The chances of winning the California lottery are 23 million to 1. 


The poor are earning money.  I suggest you get out and take a look around.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:00 | 4122694 Darkman17
Darkman17's picture

The market is just telling us we need more rich people (or whatever made them such) and less poor people (or whatever made them as such).

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:00 | 4122695 roadhazard
roadhazard's picture

" The poor need to get a job and quit whining. Oh yeah, and stop asking for food stamps " ~ any right winger

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:07 | 4122721 DaddyO
DaddyO's picture

Remarkable comment coming from someone using the no bullshit symbol...


Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:14 | 4122747 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

roadhazard is on team blue. He still hasn't figured out that both teams are out to fuck all of us. He'll get it sooner or later.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:44 | 4122840 bozzy
bozzy's picture

Just a chance roadhazard was being ironic? But - what you say - red, blue - who cares? It is just a distraction to keep the slaves from the pitchforks cranes and roadblocks which follow the all pervasive official lies as surely as the sun also rises.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 15:08 | 4123608 roadhazard
roadhazard's picture

roadhazard plays for his own team. You see, I agree things are fucked up but I can pick and choose where wingers have to toe a Party line at there peril. I can tell a winger when they start talking red and blue team only to people that don't sound 100% red team.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 15:08 | 4123611 roadhazard
roadhazard's picture

No, not remarkable, just factual.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:20 | 4122768 jmcadg
jmcadg's picture

How would JPMorgan make a god damn profit? Come on, sort your life out!

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:45 | 4122841 aardvarkk
aardvarkk's picture

Anybody who uses the term "right winger" or "left winger" has not fully thought things through.  I was left until about 2000...then I flipped and was right until the last few years.  I'm still guilty of reflexively disparaging "lefties" from time to time...but you've gotta wake up, man.

I don't share the incredible fatalism that infects so many around here, but they're right about the left/right red/blue thing not mattering.  Pick your positions based on issues, not on what team you want to support.

All that said, yes, many of the poor DO need to get a job, and less whining would be welcome.  It would also be nice if some of the rich would stop endlessly whining about taxes.  But who's rich?  Someone who makes $75,000?  $100,000?  $1,000,000?  To someone who makes $20,000, "rich" could mean $50,000.  Who's to say?  How much does it matter?

One sign that we're on the right track will be if more people spend more time reflectively thinking things like this through and less time spouting off on blogs.  And that includes me.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:01 | 4122702 1835jackson
1835jackson's picture

Give them bread and circus. 

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:27 | 4122784 James-Morrison
James-Morrison's picture

Give them McDonalds and flat screens.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:04 | 4122706 esum
esum's picture


the fed doesn't ship jobs overseas and the fed doesn't promote liberalism, inefficiency and corruption in government... the dumb fucks out of work put them in power ... bear the consequences

we cant compete with slave labor but we can offset it somewhat with technology... whcih requires a techniocal skill, aquired through education... which youngsters dont realize til its too late... although its never too late... 

most popular "jobs" 




















amerika, great place, gold in the streets 


Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:33 | 4122804 Catullus
Catullus's picture

Forgot about


Drug Mule

MLM Agent

Substitute Teacher

Healthcare Orderly

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:38 | 4123060 Running On Bing...
Running On Bingo Fuel's picture

Mossad sleeper cell person.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:14 | 4122742 Catullus
Catullus's picture


People who make >$10m a year do so for a very short period of time. And, I'd like to know how many of them are professional athletes, whose main source of revenue is the government controlled monopoly cable bills. Who's paying A -Rod's salary? Everyone who gets YES Network (which would be everyone in the tri-state area and anyone with Direct TV).

And people who make less than $5k a year? Thats less than $2.50/hr at full-time. If they're making minimum wage, by law, they're working in the neighborhood of 500 hours a year. That's not even 13 weeks of work. These are probably wait staff who don't report their tips or seasonal employment jobs.

Want a disgusting stat? Try government worker wages, anyone tied to the utilities industry, cable/Internet, the government protected pharma industry or the government protected entertainment industry.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:51 | 4122858 bozzy
bozzy's picture

"People who make >$10m a year do so for a very short period of time."

Guess they just lose the taste for all that hard work.....

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:13 | 4122744 22winmag
22winmag's picture

Pitchforks and torches folks... pitchforks and torches.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:25 | 4122778 JR
JR's picture

Let’s be fair. U.S. Census Bureau statistics on money income do not include non-cash benefits such as those from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (food stamps), or Medicaid.   That’s official; it’s from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

And non-cash assistance has increased substantially over the years, making America’s “poor” among the richest in the world.

It’s the U.S. taxpayers – those in the middle class -- who are getting poor subsidizing the lives of welfare recipients at better rates than their own – welfare both at the Wall Street top and at the Welfare Track “bottom” (many on both sides of the spectrum with dual or multiple citizenship).

A Senate Budget Committee “ report shows that households below the poverty line receive welfare payments the equivalent of $61,320, tax free, while the median household wage for non-welfare recipients is $50,054, or $43,680 after taxes.

“For fiscal year 2011, CRS identified roughly 80 overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs that together represented the single largest budget item in 2011more than the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense. The total amount spent on these federal programs, when taken together with approximately $280 billion in state contributions, amounted to roughly $1 trillion. Nearly 95 percent of these costs come from four categories of spending: medical assistance, cash assistance, food assistance, and social / housing assistance. Under the President’s FY13 budget proposal, means-tested spending would increase an additional 30 percent over the next four year…”

At the same time, the influx of Third worlders continues across U.S. borders. “The U.S. Hispanic population is second only to Mexico’s (53M vs 115M)”;  current U.S. Latino population is larger than that of Peru, Colombia or Spain. That’s according to Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director of the Pew Hispanic Center.

“According to the latest census numbers, California currently has the largest Hispanic population in the country: approximately 14.5 million as of July 1, 2012. In addition five states or equivalents were majority-minority in 2012: Hawaii (77.2 percent minority), Washington, D.C. (64.5 percent), California, (60.6 percent), New Mexico (60.2 percent) and Texas (55.5 percent), “ reports Pew.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:38 | 4122781 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Consider this the reality of the American welfare state. This is what you/they have voted for over and over again.

You have all your goodies, "rights" to lots of stuff and your 60 inch waistlines/TVs. Sounds like there is even more "fairness" to come from the rainbow and unicorn man too.

No one ever said anything about income equality or freedom from envy.

This is the bed you made. Lie in it.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:34 | 4122807 MFLTucson
MFLTucson's picture

This is the byproduct of modern liberalism yet those on the bottom do not understand that they are being used by these greedy mother fu(kers!

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:40 | 4122820 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

Inequality is best solved not by more socialism but more opportunity.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:54 | 4122862 Purple headed w...
Purple headed warrior's picture

Im going to keep posting this until you quit with this, The Economist used to be a decent magazine until it went this way, WTF is it about turning Liberal….

You do realise that you're turning into a bit of a leftist crackpot posting this none sense, I expect such articles from Krugman. What is largely assumed in all of this is that people stay in specific income brackets their entire lives - nearly everyone starts at the bottom for a start. Business owners can have several years of loss for example without them being ‘poor’ in any meaningful sense, but then a big income spike. Similarly people have spikes in income from capital gains, inheritance, lottery wins, wins in Vegas, selling homes, which is only there in a given year.

There is HUGE amounts of churn in the economy, and mostly entertainment types exist at the upper income levels, far more than any CEO. If you want to argue GDP per capita is falling, that’s fine, the Fed is being run as a bent casino, people get poorer when there’s 10% real inflation. Socialist articles such as this are very concerned about ‘inequality’ yet you seem to have no real interest in what creates wealth. And what properties of wealth should make it look more evenly distributed? Should we pin Bill Gates and Buffett up against a wall and rape them for every cent then give it to the guy who’s job is to ask "do you want fries with that"?- No sane person can argue this arrangement would lead to higher living standards, by arranging resources such as this. This is a non zero conception of the economy, it is not a statistical pie, if some people are getting rich it does not mean other people have been made poor. Only the Fed makes people poor through inflation, and socialist propaganda ideology of ‘spreading the wealth around’ which deprive individuals and businesses of their prosperity, it is transferred to the government wealth destructive activities. *

Please acquiesce from these types of articles, until then, in keeping with ZH vitriol


Fuck you Tyler

*Almost everything mentioned is entirely plagiarised from Thomas Sowell





Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:58 | 4122882 W74
W74's picture

How is this article nonsense to you?  While I am no fan of our country's welfare queens and kings, this too is absurd.  Do you really think those 3,000 individuals are making that money through legitimate means?  Or do you think they are "legally" siphoning that money off the backs of working men and women through legislation, corrupt lobbyists, and bought courts?

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:06 | 4122912 Purple headed w...
Purple headed warrior's picture

That’s nothing new, even since the 30s Americans have been subsidizing millionaires in agriculture, which includes tobacco growing; which the department of health then pontificates over the health effects and advises people on and how it should be advertised, paid for through taxes, this is how the gubbermint works.


Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:07 | 4122931 moneybots
moneybots's picture

"You do realise that you're turning into a bit of a leftist crackpot posting this none sense"


It isn't nonsense.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:26 | 4123010 poydras
poydras's picture

Some people produce great things and deserve the fruits of their production.  Others less so...

Gates looks to be a modern day Rockefellar in that he cornered the operating system market.  One is essentlally unable to buy a new machine without paying the Microsoft troll.  They should have been busted years ago.

How much of Buffet's wealth is insider trading?  How many were clued in to the extent of the massive bailouts including the multi-year, trillion dollar deficits.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:30 | 4123031 All Out Of Bubblegum
All Out Of Bubblegum's picture

> The Economist used to be a decent magazine


The Economist is a Rothschild propaganda front.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 13:21 | 4123205 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

Rent seeking anticompetitive crony capitalism is the cause of this. Economists want efficience and reduced barriers to competition and market entry, whatever market.

Students of economics know that maldistribution caused by economic inefficiency is a bad policy. We too can be concerned with the poor.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 11:58 | 4122881 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Easy. Hang the 2900 richest, take their stuff, give it to people. Problem solved.

You don't become a billionaire because you're a hard working guy. You become a billionaire because you build your empire on slaves and destroying competition.

There's not ONE billionaire who deserves his billions. Well there's the Harry Potter author chick and maybe a few others but they are the 1% of the 0.1%...

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 13:24 | 4123214 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

Depressions and debt repudiation used to do the work of liberating oligarchs from money, and killing was unneccessary lol

However depressions and debt repudiation is not allowed now.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 14:12 | 4123417 BlobbyBlueBland
BlobbyBlueBland's picture

George P. Mitchell.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:01 | 4122900 moneybots
moneybots's picture

"In brief: in the past year, the poorest 23.3 million Americans earned 36% less than the richest 2,915 Americans (and less than twice more than the richest 166)."


Reminds me of the gilded age of monopolies like Standard Oil.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:05 | 4122922 Reaper
Reaper's picture

At least, everyone knows where they live. They forgot why castles were surrounded by strong walls.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:14 | 4122959 poydras
poydras's picture

Below is a million a year list from 1914.  I suspect income inequality was significant back then.


Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:16 | 4122960 Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano's picture

What is the "correct" income distribution and what makes that "correct?" 

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 13:44 | 4123301 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

All government regulation should seek only pareto optimality.

The correct income distribution is that which results from pareto optimized markets. All markets even education must be at pareto optimality.

Of course we wouldnt worry about income distribution. We would have heaven on earth. Of course the game has to be reset before it starts. Some people starting with extra game chips would destroy pareto optimality early on.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 14:38 | 4123517 Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano's picture

Why is government regulation needed to achieve this?  Govt will be responsible for "rebalancing" winners vs losers (or prevent one from losing)?

And absent a "reset" that makes everyone precisely economically equal, it is impossible to achieve this opitimal state?  

Has any society / economy attempted or achieved this optimality?  If not, why?

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:33 | 4123037 gatorengineer
gatorengineer's picture


Just an Example the top 25 baseball players alone salary only are $525 million, now add in endorsements etc  North of a billion just there for 25, multiply by 4 professional sports

Now take NON-Financial CEOs total comp

Add in the banksters whose total compensation appears to be ungoogleable.

I would expect that the total of the top 2915, is three to five times MINIMUM the number quoted....

I think the top 100 would be close to the number quoted.....


On the low side, I cant recall ever seeing as many help wanted signs as I do now.....  yes they are minimum wage jobs, but it tells you how F'ed the system is.  Both subsidized by the middle who is almost extinct.



Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:34 | 4123049 W74
Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:38 | 4123062 poydras
poydras's picture

Perhaps it would be productive to explore who profits from a fix.  The health care system is riddled with anti competitive schemes.  As someone suggested, sports figures earn high incomes via essentially an ESPN tax.  Focus less on the inequality, more on the crony capitalism.  A level playing field and the opportunity to earn high income, producing things of great value is the real path towards general prosperity.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:48 | 4123088 Debt Slave
Debt Slave's picture

Sooo I haven't seen a pay raise since 2008. How about you guys?

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 12:56 | 4123113 Zymurguy
Zymurguy's picture

Tyler(s) or anyone:

I've seen on here in the past a historical account of at what point income inequality has resulted in things such as revolutions, civil wars, etc.

Does anyone have any data on this?

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 14:38 | 4123513 gatorengineer
gatorengineer's picture

I think history is irrelevant, never has a population been so anesthesized by IDevices and the kardashians......  Tipping point would be alot higher than any point in history....

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 13:04 | 4123148 all-priced-in
all-priced-in's picture

How do the people that make more than $10 million "hurt" the people making less than $5,000?

What's the BIG DEAL?

The issue should be - can a person with a reasonable level of education / skill that is willing to work - earn enough to provide for the reasonable comfort of their family.

This type of article always tries to make it sound like we should just TAKE from those rich folks and GIVE it to the poor - all that will do is increase the number of poor people looking for a handout.





Tue, 11/05/2013 - 16:47 | 4124015 odatruf
odatruf's picture

"How do the people that make more than $10 million "hurt" the people making less than $5,000?"

This, like the question I highlight above, is one that really should be front and center for us.  And once answered, then part of what ought to be done will be more clear.

For me, if the person making the $10 million uses some of that wealth to engage in or support actions which distort markets or establishes any other barrier to competition, then they've hurt everyone else. Or if they've gained any of that $10 million through action like those, then the same is true.

If they earned that income by building a better mousetrap or having a rare talent, then they've not hurt and likely helped others in some way, if only added enjoyment.

For me, the harder question is what culpability the people who follow the rules of the status quo possess. Does a Dr. who goes through medial school but plays no part in keeping the state created medical monopoly system in place deserve any of the blame? Or how about A-Rod? He had no hand in creating the cable monopolies or the anti-trust exemption for baseball, but he benefits from it like few others.

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 13:15 | 4123193 Carl Popper
Carl Popper's picture

Increase opportunity for all.

Get rid of rentseeking and anticompetitive regulations.

Money will naturally redistribute and society as a whole recaprures the consumer surplus from oligopolists/monopolists

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 18:49 | 4124567 odatruf
odatruf's picture

Who the hell downvotes this?

Tue, 11/05/2013 - 15:08 | 4123565 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

I get it, but I would not use the term "Earned" Income in either case.

I'm guessing that half of the Poor are welfare cases (Sec.8 + EBT) who were "gifted" this 'money'.  <-- It's not "Money", it's Currency, dammit!

And the Rich hardly "earned" it either.  They were "awarded" this wealth, by virtue of their position (Entitlement, baby!), not by virtue of their output (hours of work or intellect that was thousands of times greater and faster than that of the people under them).  They're all "big picture" guys who like to play with "big ideas", and who leave the heavy lifting, the real work and the detail (where the Devil is) to an army of their minions.


Remind me again, how we actually "got rid of aristocracy and our Feudal masters"?  Pffff!  When we kicked them out the front door ~ 100 years ago, they snuck right back in through the back door --> via their centuries-old allies and partners-in-crime: central banksters.

At least back then, when the Feudal masters were out in the open, we all knew who they were and what they did (or didn't "do").  Now they have "corporations", instead of expensive and easy-to-target estates, and are virtually impossible to ID or prosecute. 

And it used to be that aristocrats and the rich commoners would offer 'charity' for the poor out of their wealth.  They now have the Working Class do this for them, and then incite this class to direct their anger at the government (bought by them) and the poor recipients.  The leper-stigma they like to attach to this is called "socialism", and the dumb, uninformed and gullible lap it up.  Especially when they hear it from their equally dumb, uninformed and gullible peers.  It is a rare person who realizes that the "welfare for the rich" is far, far bigger.  And even fewer refuse to fall for the sound-byte of "job creators", when referring to those who are actually rich welfare queens.  Remember, the Egyptian Pharaohs were "job creators" too.  And so was Hitler, if you think of the slogan above the entrances of the concentration camps:  "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work is liberating).  Clearly not all "job creators" are the same, and hearing that buzz-word does not mean that we should stop thinking deeper about a problem.

Dumb fucking peasants!  You can feel sympathy and pity for them only for so long, if they don't help themselves out of their misery.

Wed, 11/06/2013 - 18:11 | 4128495 rockface
rockface's picture

Has this situation improved since Yappy was elected President?  Well then wake up suckers!

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