A new study from the Pew Research Center found that middle class1 incomes have been declining since the 1980’s (thanks, Ronald Reagan for all that non-existent trickle-down), while the incomes of the very wealthy have continued to rise. Think Progress:
The Pew survey is the latest to note rising income inequality in America as the middle class continues to struggle while the wealthy remain relatively prosperous. Income inequality in the U.S. is now comparable, if not worse, than it is in countries like Ivory Coast and Pakistan, as middle class wages have stagnated. A 2010 Census Bureau study found that incomes for the bottom tier of Americans fell four times faster than they did for the wealthiest after the recession.
The “lost decade” for the middle class corresponds to declining tax rates for the wealthy and a growth in corporate profits. In the last 12 years, incomes for the wealthiest 400 Americans quadrupled even as their tax rates were halved, and executive compensation has grown 127 times faster over the last three decades than worker pay, one study found.
1 The middle class is “defined as Americans with incomes between $39,000 and $118,000 — fell backward in income for the first time since the end of World War II, and the number of Americans who fit into that category shrunk from 61 percent in 1971 to just 51 percent in 2011.”