Take two pies -- one for 1979, the other for 2003 (using the latest IRS data).
Divide the 1979 pie into 10 equal slices. If the slices were eaten according to the distribution of income in 1979:
-- The richest 1 percent of taxpayers would get one slice.
-- The rest of the top 20 percent would get four slices.
-- The other 80 percent of taxpayers would split five slices.
Now, divide the 2003 pie into 10 slices.
-- The richest 1 percent would get nearly two slices.
-- The rest of the top 20 percent would get a little over four slices.
-- The other 80 percent would split four slices.
So, it's not your imagination that your slice of the American Dream pie seemed to be shrinking, it's a reality.
That's okay you say, I can fatten my bottom line with a little chocolate. That may be true if you're a CEO, but if you're a worker bee, your checkbook will never have to worry about getting chubby.
Income gaps in the workplace have become increasingly outrageous, as seen in the growing gap between worker pay and CEO pay. We can demonstrate it with a pile of chocolate.
Give 1 piece of chocolate to your worker stand-in and 44 pieces to your CEO stand-in. That was the 1980 ratio of average full-time worker pay to average pay among CEOs in Business Week's survey of major corporations.
For the equivalent 2004 ratio, give 1 piece of chocolate to the worker and 362 to the CEO.
Marie Antoinette would be proud of our corporations and politicians. As for me, I just wonder when the revolution will start?