Richest Americans got 5 times more pay last year



David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer-winning former New York Times reporter is, to put it mildly, one of the nation’s top financial journalists; he also teaches at Syracuse University and writes a column for Tax Analysts. Today, on the website, Johnston examines recent wage data and comes to a mind-boggling, yet fully documented, conclusion: The very wealthiest Americans got five times — five times — more pay last year than the year before.

You read that right. In the Great Recession year of 2009 (officially just the first half of the year), the average pay of the very highest-income Americans [with income over $50 million a year] was more than five times their average wages and bonuses in 2008.

As NC PolicyWatch notes, that means that while “millions of middle class people not only [did] not get raises, but lost their jobs, the folks at the very top in our country essentially got raises that amounted to $10 million a week.”

So when’s the last time you got a big raise? Have you, by any remote chance, ever made five times what you made the previous year, while staying at the same job? Didn’t think so. To say that things are skewed these days to benefit the super-haves of society is a gross understatement — no, considering these new figures, it's a grotesque understatement. Piles and piles of evidence, facts and figures show the tremendous re-distribution of wealth toward the very top in America during the past three decades. Yet, whenever the obvious inequalities that are being foisted on regular Americans is pointed out, conservatives usually jerk their knees and start squawking about “class warfare.”  Yes, there’s class warfare going on, all right. But it’s the war of the super-rich against the rest of us. And what are our “leaders” in Washington debating? Whether to extend tax cuts for the richest Americans. I need a Manhattan.


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