The Piketty-Saez data, which use tax returns to estimate income shares, do indeed show the top 10 percent receiving half the income, up from 42 percent in 1995. . . . let me pull out the Congressional Budget Office . . . :
CBO finds that, between 1979 and 2007, income grew by:•275 percent for the top 1 percent of households,•65 percent for the next 19 percent,•Just under 40 percent for the next 60 percent, and•18 percent for the bottom 20 percent.Via Krugman.
Further and from the same source: "the constant-dollar figures are presented by the Census in the same table (Excel file) . . . actually show a small decline in the incomes of the bottom 20 percent." In other words, inflation from 1979 to 2007 was about 20%.
Net of inflation between 1979 and 2007, income grew by:
•255 percent for the top 1 percent of households,
•45 percent for the next 19 percent,
•Just under 20 percent for the next 60 percent, and
•-2% for the bottom 20 percent.
This is a huge increase in income inequality since 1979.