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The rich are now 288 times richer than middle-class households

September 11, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • A report finds that the rich are getting richer while the middle class is growing poorer.
A report finds that the rich are getting richer while the middle class is… (Getty Images )

The rich aren't just getting richer. They're getting a lot richer.

And you're getting poorer.

The wealth gap between the richest Americans and the typical family more than doubled over the past 50 years, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

It found that the top 1% had 125 times the net worth of the median household as of 1962. But by 2010, the disparity reached 288 times.

The institute cited two trends: More wealth finding its way to the high end of the demographic spectrum, while people in the middle class were seeing their cash grow more scarce.

The median household saw its net worth drop to $57,000 in 2010, down from $73,000 in 1983. It would have been closer to $119,000 had wealth grown equally across households.

The top 1%, meanwhile, saw their average wealth grow to $16.4 million, up from $9.6 million in 1983.

What's to be done? Well, we could leave things as they are and watch as the middle class continues to dwindle while more wealth accumulates among the 1%.

Or we can look at tax reform that would attempt to level the playing field and tax all income levels fairly.

Man, tough call.


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