The after-tax incomes of the wealthiest 1 percent of American households grew by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007, according to a new report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
For the rest of the nation’s top earners–the 81st through 99th percentiles–inflation-adjusted incomes rode by 65 percent in the same period. The bottom 20 percent saw their incomes go up by just 18 percent.
At the same time, the share of total after-tax income brought home by the top quintile of households rose from 47 percent to 53 percent, while the share of income to the bottom quintile fell from about 7 percent to 5 percent. The report attributed the change in part to changes in the federal tax structure and in part to a shift in federal transfers–cash payments and services–from low-income households to the elderly through Medicare and Social Security, which are not limited to the poor.