Saturday :: Jun 4, 2005

Class in America

by eriposte

I've been meaning to mention this, but kudos are due to the New York Times for their engaging and interesting, ongoing series that explores how class matters in America. The sidebar has links to what they've covered so far:

A team of reporters spent more than a year exploring ways that class - defined as a combination of income, education, wealth and occupation - influences destiny in a society that likes to think of itself as a land of unbounded opportunity.
Day 1: Overview
Day 2: Health
Day 3: Marriage
Day 4: Religion
Day 5: Education
Day 6: Immigration
Day 7: New Status Markers
Day 8: The 'Relo' Class
Day 9: The Hyper-Rich
The latest installment (Day 9) is about wealth. The accompanying charts tell important stories in themselves.
- This one showing how the share of income going to the top 0.01% and the top 0.1% is near levels last seen in the Depression era.
- This one showing income and tax shares before and after the Bush tax cuts has a lot of data but look at the metric "Percentage of income paid in income, Social Security and Medicare taxes in 2004". You will notice that:
  • Those in the $50-75K income bracket paid essentially the same share of their income in these taxes that the top 400 richest taxpayers in the US paid (17.5%).

  • Those earning above $75K (excluding the top 400), paid a higher percentage of their income in these taxes than the top 400.

  • Those earning $100-200K paid roughly the same percentage of their income in these taxes that those earning more than $10M paid (excl. the top 400).
Another part that is most intriguing is their coverage on income mobility, here. As you click through the interactive charts, you will notice some very interesting trends, including the fact that income mobility for the less well-off in the U.S., with successive generations, may even be lower than that for people in France, Canada and Denmark.
Here's the link to their entire series. It's definitely worth a look.

eriposte :: 10:16 PM :: Comments (3) :: TrackBack (1) :: Digg It!