I’ve been harping on this for a while.
For years, statistics have depicted growing income disparity in the United States, and it has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. In 2008, the last year for which data are available, for example, the top 0.1 percent of earners took in more than 10 percent of the personal income in the United States, including capital gains, and the top 1 percent took in more than 20 percent. But economists had little idea who these people were. How many were Wall street financiers? Sports stars? Entrepreneurs? Economists could only speculate, and debates over what is fair stalled. …
The top 0.1 percent of earners make about $1.7 million or more, including capital gains. Of those, 41 percent were executives, managers and supervisors at non-financial companies, according to the analysis, with nearly half of them deriving most of their income from their ownership in privately-held firms. An additional 18 percent were managers at financial firms or financial professionals at any sort of firm. In all, nearly 60 percent fell into one of those two categories.
One other thing to consider. It appears that 40 years ago, the executive class had more integrity than it does today. This is a look back at the 1970s when Dean Foods, a dairy company, was run by Kenneth Douglas, who made a handsome $1 million a year (in today’s dollars), not much by current executive standards:
Most years, board members at Dean Foods wanted to give Douglas a raise. But more than once, Douglas, a former FBI agent who literally married the girl next door, refused.
“He would object to the pay we gave him sometimes — not because he thought it was too little; he thought it was too much,” said Alexander J. Vogl, a member of the Dean Foods board at the time and the chair of its compensation committee. “He was afraid it would be bad for morale, him getting a big bump like that.”
Read the full Washington Post story. If you’re not in that top bracket, things don’t look good for you.