Now there’s a new graph to add to the pile, one that is uncommonly thorough and precise and gives a portrait of how incomes have grown for each segment of the population from 1913 to the present. Produced by Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez and his frequent collaborators Thomas Piketty (EHESS), and Gabriel Zucman (Berkeley), and using a mix of tax and survey data, it shows compellingly that income gains in recent decades have gone overwhelmingly to the ultrarich, not the middle class:
This is not just another chart. The data it uses directly answers conservative attempts to claim that middle-class incomes really have grown substantially, and that the rich aren’ttaking all the economic gains. The conservatives argued that the standard data used to illustrate inequality is incomplete; Saez, Piketty, and Zucman have completed it, and demonstrated that income growth has been quite low for the middle class and very unequally distributed between them and the wealthy.