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Americ’s Top 400 families








America‘s elite pulling away

From sinking middle class

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, as Charles Dickens memorably put it  in a"A Tale of Two Cities."

 

America’s richcest 1% earns 23% of all income, more than the bottom 40% of families combined, provoking images of the contrast between the high-lviing Marie Anotinete and beggars starving in the streets of Paris.

 

The "best of times" phrase refers exclusively to America‘s richest citizens, as reflected in this chart based on IRS data reported in The New York Times Feb. 21, 2010.

YEAR

AVERAGE ANNUAL INCOME

Of RICHEST 400 FMAILIES

COMBINED INCOME OF TICHEST 400 families

2007

$345 million   (31% more than previous year)

$138 billion

2006

$263 million

$105.3 billion

Data sources: IRS data from Tax.com

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Not only did the wealthiest 400 households experience a 31% increase in earnings, but "each of them paid an average tax rate of 16.6%, according to the Times.

 

Meanwhile, the situation looks considerably bleaker for other American families, as Elizabeth Warren, hair of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the banking bailouts, outlined in a  December 3, 2009 article, "American Without a Middle Class," on Huffington Post.

 

"One in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can’t make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings."

 

 

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