Wednesday, March 01, 2006

All Power to the Soviets!!

Paul Krugman takes class envy to new heights, starting out writing an article on supposedly how getting a college degree isn't worth much anymore, and ending up with a rant about how this country has several thousand really rich people, who I guess are really evil and don't treat the help very well or something. This is a lame Times Select article, but a free partial link here.

A new research paper by Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon of Northwestern University, "Where Did the Productivity Growth Go?," gives the details. Between 1972 and 2001 the wage and salary income of Americans at the 90th percentile of the income distribution rose only 34 percent, or about 1 percent per year. So being in the top 10 percent of the income distribution, like being a college graduate, wasn't a ticket to big income gains.

But income at the 99th percentile rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181 percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497 percent. No, that's not a misprint.

Just to give you a sense of who we're talking about: the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that this year the 99th percentile will correspond to an income of $402,306, and the 99.9th percentile to an income of $1,672,726. The center doesn't give a number for the 99.99th percentile, but it's probably well over $6 million a year.

By the time he was done I was about ready to storm the Winter Palace. There are 13,000 people in the US who are really rich! Off with their heads! Proletarii vsekh stran soyedinyaites!