Income Gap Grows in U.S.
Income Gap Grows in U.S. (Washington Times)
Incomes are growing smartly for the first time in years, spurring unexpectedly robust spending by consumers. The revival, however, is mainly among top earners who receive stocks, bonuses and other income in addition to wages.
The nearly 80 percent of Americans who rely mostly on hourly wages barely maintained their purchasing power, according to the Labor Department. Raises have been meager, averaging about 2.7 percent in the past year — a tad above the 2.5 percent inflation rate.
Incomes are up a more robust 7.5 percent when bonuses, stock compensation, commissions and other wage supplements are added, according to the Commerce Department.
Most of the boost, though, is felt by those at the top end of the income scale.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan expressed concern in testimony earlier this month about the disparity between wage-earners and high-income executives and professionals, which by some measures is the biggest in the United States since the Roaring ’20s
“I’m concerned about this. It’s a major issue in this country,” said Mr. Greenspan, who has announced he will retire in January.
“A free-market, democratic society is ill-served by an economy in which the rewards are distributed in a way” that leaves out the majority, he said. “Too many of our population … don’t feel the advantages and benefits coming from the system.”
Indeed. For anyone living near or below the median income of $28,654 the American Dream is increasingly out of reach.