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Top 1 percent has nearly quadrupled income since 1979

Top 1 percent cause massive income disparity: a Congressional Budget Office report found that income for the top 1 percent increased 275 percent since 1979, while it only increased 18 percent for other Americans.

Top 1 percent responsible for massive disparity: A Rolls Royce at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show Thursday. Also, on Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office released a report that showed that the richest 1 percent have increased their income 275 percent since 1979, while other Americans have only increased their income 18-40 percent.

Lynne Sladky/AP

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The richest 1 percent of Americans have been getting far richer over the last three decades while the middle class and poor have seen their after-tax household income only crawl up in comparison, according to a government study.

Average after-tax income for the top 1 percent of U.S. households almost quadrupled, up 275 percent, from 1979 to 2007, the Congressional Budget Office found. For people in the middle of the economic scale, after-tax income grew by just 40 percent. Those at the bottom experienced an 18 percent increase.

The report, based on IRS and Census Bureau data, comes as the Occupy Wall Street movement protests corporate bailouts and the gap between the haves and have-nots. Demonstrators call themselves "the 99 percent."

"The distribution of after-tax income in the United States was substantially more unequal in 2007 than in 1979," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said in a blog post. "The share of income accruing to higher-income households increased, whereas the share accruing to other households declined."

The top 1 percent made $165,000 or more in 1979; that jumped to $347,000 or more in 2007, the study said. The income for the top fifth started at $51,289 in 1979 and rose to $70,578 in 2007. On the other end of the spectrum, those in the 20th percentile went from $12,823 in 1979 to $14,851 in 2007.


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