Income Inequality on the Rise, and More from CRS

12.03.12 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The extraordinary rise in income inequality among Americans is painstakingly documented in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service.

In the past few decades, the rich have gotten a lot richer as “those at the very top have reaped disproportionately larger gains from economic growth.”

“Based on the limited data that are comparable among nations, the U.S. income distribution appears to be among the most unequal of all major industrialized countries and the United States appears to be among the nations experiencing the greatest increases in measures of income dispersion,” the CRS report said.

Popular beliefs concerning the possibility of upward mobility in income are not well-founded, CRS said.

“Empirical analyses estimate that the United States is a comparatively immobile society, that is, where one starts in the income distribution influences where one ends up to a greater degree than in several advanced economies. Children raised in families at the bottom of the U.S. income distribution are estimated to be especially less likely to ascend the income ladder as adults,” the report said.  See The U.S. Income Distribution and Mobility: Trends and International Comparisons, November 29, 2012.

Congressional secrecy policy prohibits CRS from releasing its reports to the public.  Some other new and updated CRS reports that Congress has not made publicly available include the following.

Addressing the Long-Run Budget Deficit: A Comparison of Approaches, November 30, 2012

Economic Recovery: Sustaining U.S. Economic Growth in a Post-Crisis Economy, November 29, 2012

Tax Provisions to Assist with Disaster Recovery, November 29, 2012

Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate, November 29, 2012

Congressional Nominations to U.S. Service Academies: An Overview and Resources for Outreach and Management, November 30, 2012

Health Benefits for Members of Congress, November 30, 2012

Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress, November 30, 2012

Social Security Reform: Current Issues and Legislation, November 28, 2012

Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, and Resources, November 30, 2012

Army Corps Supplemental Appropriations: Recent History, Trends, and Policy Issues, November 29, 2012

DOD Purchase of Renewable Energy Credits Under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, November 27, 2012

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meetings in Vladivostok, Russia: Postscript, November 19, 2012

Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance, November 30, 2012

Colombia: Background, U.S. Relations, and Congressional Interest, November 28, 2012

Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990, November 29, 2012