Here is a great graphic from the Economic Policy Institute in the US. The Occupy Wall Street protesters claims are backed up when you look at the graph below. Data is inflation-adjusted.
Bottom 90% of households saw a 5% increase in income
Top 1% of households saw a 224% increase in income
Top 0.1% of households saw a 390% increse in income
The major increases happened during the Clinton Administration especially with the repeal of the Glass Stegal Act in 1997 – 0.1% and 1% incomes increased dramatically after this period. The drop in the % increase was no doubt due to the Dot Com collapse but picked up considerably with an aggressive expansionary policy from the US Fed after 9/11.
Do we have anything like this in NZ?
NZIER economist Shamubeel Eaqub stated that the wage income gap between high and low income has been broadly stable over the past decade and there is nothing in the figures to suggest massive increases in inequality or inequity.