Top Earners

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Oct 20, 2011    •    618 Views

A quiz:

  • Looking at the top 1% of earners, how many are in financial services?
  • Close to 75%, 50%, 25% or 10%?
  • The answer: 10% (or precisely 13.9%)


  • How much does the top 1% earn?
  • The 1% threshold is close to $350,000. $200,000, top 5%; 150,000, top 10%; $100,000, top 25%.
  • Here, you can identify your income group. (Stats are for adjusted gross income, 2009.)

And finally, with Occupy Wall Street expressing anger about money moguls, do most people agree? This Gallup survey concludes that more of us blame government than Wall Street for our economic difficulties.

These Occupy Wall Street interviews from NPR’s Planet Money provide an unfiltered look at individual protestor’s goals. They let us form our own opinion of the group’s objectives.

The Economic Lesson
Saying that education is crucial for income mobility, a 2010 study from the OECD concludes that U.S. intergenerational mobility is relatively low. In other words, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters remain close to the same rung on a social mobility ladder.

By contrast, this 2007 report from the U.S. Treasury indicates that there is considerable income mobility in the U.S. Describing a hotel with luxurious rooms and shabby rooms, they say that, “…those in small rooms have an opportunity to move to a better one, and that the luxurious rooms are not always occupied by the same people. The frequency with which people move between rooms is a crucial aspect of the trend in income inequality in the United States.”

An Economic Question: Explain why you would accept income inequality as a consequence of a market system or support more government redistribution of income through taxes.

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