"It's edgy out there," Mayor de Blasio told a group of people who associate "edgy" with booking a business class international flight with Bonus Miles alone. Just how edgy? A new report [PDF] from the CUNY Graduate Center shows the "extraordinary and unmistakable" increase in the gap between the rich and the poor in New York City. In 1990, the upper 20% of all household earners controlled 48% of the total houshold income; by 2010 their share had risen to 54%, higher than the national trend of 50%. During the same period, the lower 20% of earners saw its hold slip from 3.3% to 3%.
The top 1% of earners (The Job Creators, The Beneficent Tax Base, The Doers, The Skin-In-The Gamers etc.) felt their median income increase from $452,415 to $716,625 over that 20-year period. The lowest 10% of earners went from $8,468 to $9,455, well below the inflation rate.
"The city's inequality is more a sign of its success than a crisis," might be true if your fate doesn't hinge on an intractable legislative body debating whether to pay you poverty wages now or in 2 years.
The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies, which prepared the report using Census data, pinpoints the racial makeup of where the city's wealth is concentrated:
The process of wealth concentration in non-Hispanic white households was the most extreme in the City. By 2010 42% of all non-Hispanic white households earned $100,000 or more and they controlled 78% of total income derived by all non-Hispanic white households. By way of comparison 19% of Latino households, 23% of non-Hispanic black households, and 30% of Asian households were in this income category.
"What we're seeing here is this process of polarization where those at the top can certainly afford to live in this city because of their continually increasing incomes," Laird Bergad, the director of the CLACLS and author of the report told WNYC. "Those at the bottom often have no choices."
Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo wants to give millionaires an estate tax reduction and slash the corporate income tax from 7.1% to 6.5%. You know, because they need it.