According to David Cay Johnston, a former tax reporter for the New York Times who now teaches law at Syracuse University, “The incomes of the top 400 American households soared to a new record high in dollars and as a share of all income in 2007, while the income tax rates they paid fell to a record low.”
The top 400 incomes in the US are those that are the highest “Adjusted Gross Incomes” shown on individual IRS 1040 returns. Those returns, which have been tracked since the early 1990s, but were not released publicly during the G. W. Bush administration, provide a glimpse of how wealth has become more concentrated in the accounts of a fewer people during the last 20 years.
According to Mr. Johnston, “Since 1992, the bottom 90 percent of Americans have seen their incomes rise by 13 percent in 2009 dollars, compared with an increase of 399 percent for the top 400” earners in America. Professor Johnston based his analysis on data from US Internal Revenue Service publication Tax Analysts Doc 2010-3372.
Professor G. William Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz provided a broader analysis of related topics in his updated examination the distribution of wealth and income in the US. He showed how net worth, financial wealth, income, property, and such are migrating toward the wealthy in many ways.
Read Mr. Johnston’s (whom Slate columnist Joe Conason calls “America’s premier tax journalist”) article, “Tax Rates for Top 400 Earners Fall as Income Soars, IRS Data.” See the actual data from the IRS. Professor Domhoff’s broader analysis is available as “Wealth, Income, and Power.”