University of Virginia economics professor James Harrigan is using more than 35 years of data to study economic inequality in the United States. the data shows the dramatic rise of the "1 percent," the very wealthiest people in the country. To be in the top 1 percent, someone would need to earn at least $400,000 per household, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service. That same data shows that, of all income earned in the U.S., the share going to the top 1 percent has risen from 8 percent in 1980 to 18 percent today, meaning it has more than doubled. Roughly one out of every five dollars is going to the top 1 percent.
In the U.S., between 1978 and 2015, the income share of the bottom half of the population fell to 12% from 20%. Total real income for that group fell 1% during that time period. The average annual income of the bottom 50% has stagnated at about 16,000 dollars per adult (expressed in constant dollars 2015), while the average income of the top 1% rose from 27 times to 81 times this amount, that is from a little over 400,000 dollars in 1980 to over 1.3 million dollars in 2014.
Just as denying climate change doesn’t change physics, believing that helping the rich will help the poor doesn’t make it true. Offering a radically different alternative vision would be a good way to begin building the future and that is what the World Socialist Movement is intent upon doing.