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Friday, December 10, 2010

PolitiFact: Sanders telling the truth on vast income inequality - Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been holding a mock filibuster today (mock, because he's not actually blocking a measure scheduled for a vote on the floor), with welcome help from Sens. Sherrod Brown and Mary Landrieu. It might not be the real thing, but it's been powerful in laying out the progressive case against this tax deal. He's particularly strong when he's talking about income inequality, points he made in this video:

"Mr. President, in the year 2007, the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income," Sanders said. "The top 1 percent earned 23.5 percent of all income--more than the entire bottom 50 percent. That is apparently not enough. The percentage of income going to the top 1 percent has nearly tripled since the 1970s. In the mid-1970s, the top 1 percent earned about 8 percent of all income. In the 1980s, that figure jumped to 14 percent. In the late 1990s, that 1 percent earned about 19 percent."

PolitiFact got requests to fact-check Sander's claim. They did, and found it's true.

So, we're left with three studies that vary slightly but which all point in the same general direction -- showing the top 1 percent earning between 21.4 and 23.5 percent of the national income in 2007. The studies also show that this share exceeds what the entire bottom 50 percent of the United States earns. So we rate Sanders' statement True.

Whether it's 21.4 or 23.5 percent is of much less importance than the fact that the top one percent earns more than the entire bottom 50 percent. That's obscene, and Democrats should not be lining up to perpetuate that status quo.

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