The rich get poorer


If your income is rising much more slowly than inflation, that's a sign you might be rich.

The bottom 90% of earners are seeing their income keep up with inflation, while the bottom 50% had wage gains 3.4% bigger than inflation in the first quarter of 2021. That's according to Realtime Inequality, a project that attempts to disaggregate growth statistics by income percentile.

 Real income for the bottom 50% rose by a stunning 11.7% in 2021. The top 1% did even better, seeing their incomes rise by 12.7% last year — thanks in large part to soaring markets.

  • In the first quarter of 2022, wage gains for the bottom half continued — but a sluggish market meant that rich folks' income growth turned negative.

"Growth was strong for the working class," concludes Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman, a c0-founder of the website.

  • First-quarter economic growth was negative, which implies that some groups of Americans had to bear the brunt. In this case, it was the rich. "All the decline in GDP is concentrated in the top 10%" of the income distribution, says Zucman.

 Wage inflation is good for workers and bad for the rentier classes.

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