Newly released government income data show that average wages and total wages declined for all income brackets last year — except at the very top, where they leaped dramatically. The financial writer David Cay Johnston has revealed that the average income for Americans in the highest income bracket — those earning more than $50 million a year — increased fivefold, to an average income of just over $500 million. Johnston writes, “These 74 people made as much as the 19 million lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight workers.”
The latest government statistics also show that millions of unemployed workers didn’t earn any money last year. One out of every thirty-four Americans who earned wages in 2008 went all of 2009 without earning a single dollar.