The recent Congressional Budget Office report on incomes from 1979 to 2007 has depressing news for believers in egalitarian free-market capitalism. Since 1979, the after-taxes income of the bottom 80% of Americans as a share of the total national after-taxes income has dropped from 57% to 47%; every one of the first four quintiles has seen a drop in its share of the national income. Yet even the gains in economic strength for the top quintile have been unevenly shared. The 81st-99th-income-percentile range has seen its share of the national income stay the same. Meanwhile, the top 1% of earners have seen their share of the nation’s after-taxes income climb from 8% in 1979 to 17% in 2007. These numbers suggest that the profits of the national economy (broadly considered) have increasingly flowed to the top.

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