The Rich Are Getting Poorer

It’s probably the least reported fact about incomes you will come across this year.

  • The number of tax returns that reported at least $1 million in annual income fell by 22 percent…while the subset of that group reporting at least $10 million in income was 36 percent smaller.
  • The decline in national income was largely caused by a fall in investment income and a sharp drop in capital gains.
  • Despite the recession, total wage and salary income in the United States rose by 1.9 percent in 2008, the IRS said.
  • Of those tax returns of $10 million or more, 17 included income from unemployment benefits, averaging $5,765 each.

Full article on 2008 tax returns.

Comments (8)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Tom H. says:

    I good times, the MSM bashes the rich for riding the uphill wave; in bad times no one has any sympathy on the down slide.

  2. Joe S. says:

    It looks like the income of the rich varies a lot more over the business cycle than wage and salary income. But I suppose this is to be expected.

  3. Don Levit says:

    Wow, could it be the wealth gap is closing?
    Maybe the top 10% own less than 72% of total financial assets?
    Is the middle class making a comeback?
    Don Levit

  4. Stephen C. says:

    The reason you are not going to read about this anywhere else is that the main stream media only wants to write about the rich getting richer. They have no interest in the rich getting poorer.

  5. artk says:

    So, Stephen, the New York Times is suddenly not the “main stream media”. When did that happen?

  6. James says:

    Bubbles and Manias obviously effect the wealthy more than the poor. That is why government is in such deep trouble. High earning individuals pay most income taxes, which means that when the bubble bursts, tax receipts plunge.

    California’s income tax receipts have fallen 40% peak to trough during the recession. Total income has fallen much less than that.

    Everyone complains about the wealthy making all the money during manias. But politicians get used to it, and build in spending plans based on the tax receipts of wealthy people during the boom. When the bust hits, the baseline government budget can’t be met.

    In the end liberals have a schizophrenic relationship with wealthy people. They hate them with a passion (aside from certain exceptions), but they love their income taxes.

  7. Jonathan says:

    Artk’s point about this being in the NY Times bears repeating. How could this be the “least” reported fact about incomes this year?

    Also, 2008 was a terrible year for the stock market. 2009 was much better. Who doubts that we will see large gains in millionaires in the 2009 statistics? This is a blip, not an indication of a long term decline in the number of super wealthy.

  8. monkeywrench says:

    It should be pretty obvious to everyone — even the New York Times — that Obama’s “spreading the wealth around” policies scare the productive members of society into concealing their wealth, earning less of it, and/or consuming it before it gets “redistributed.”