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Huge wealth gains of 1 percenters

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

Those in the highest echelon of income earners -- the 1 percenters -- are speeding past the rest of the population when it comes to rebuilding wealth after the recession of 2007 to 2009.

A study by E. Morris Cox Professor of Economics at Berkeley Emmanuel Saez, "Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States," shows that in 2009 to 2010, the 1 percenters captured an astounding 93 percent of income growth. The stock market, which has doubled in three years, is responsible for most of the gains of the wealthy since the recession, while the majority of Americans are still suffering from a sluggish housing market and jobs recovery.

But while the wealthiest have gained the most, they also fell further during the recession, losing more than three times the wealth of the rest of the population, according to the study. Not to minimize the losses of the majority, the study notes that the 11.6 percent fall among those in the bottom 99 percent of income earners during the recession is the largest on record in any two-year period since the Great Depression.

The top earners in this country outpace the rest of the population by an astounding percentage.

The volatility in earnings and wealth among the richest Americans and its effect on the economy are explored by Wall Street Journal reporter Robert Frank in his latest book, "The High-Beta Rich."

The chart below shows the difference in wealth between the 1 percenters and the rest of the population, or the so-called 99 percenters.

Comparison between top earners and the rest of the population
Year Income gains/losses:
1 percenters
Income gains/losses:
99 percenters
2002-2007 61.8 percent 6.8 percent
2007-2009 -36.3 percent -11.6 percent
2009-2010 11.6 percent 0.2 percent
Source: Emmanuel Saez

What do you think of the difference between the country's top earners and the 99 percenters?

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March 14, 2012 at 10:02 am

I think the best thing for the "99%" to do would be to complain about what other people have.

March 14, 2012 at 8:13 am

Why would the other 99 percent want to read this BS?