Occupy Wall Street has a famous slogan "we are the 99%", refering to the "fact" that 1% of the people in the US take nearly the quarter of the national income. However, this does not seem to consider that many people with extreme incomes have very variables revenues and have to borrow a lot from the private sector to finance their source of revenue, and that this revenue is unstable. Are there any studies/data confirming that the 1% that has nearly 25% of the national income is in fact nearly composed of the same people year after year? Any data that considers "permanent income" instead of "annual income"?
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I've not see a strict analysis of the top one percent but I have seen an analysis of the top 400 tax payers, the very highest income taxpayers:
A slightly more targeted answer:
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON INCOME MOBILITY AND INEQUALITY Gerald Auten, Geoffrey Gee, and Nicholas Turner (2013)
To answer the question: Yes, the 1% is relatively stable. From The Economist:
Also your "belief" that the vast majority of the income that the 1% receive is variable, from borrowing, etc, isn't actually true.
So half isn't variable at all, a quarter is slightly variable and, a quarter isn't all that variable, but is subject to market shocks.
And that isn't even getting into whether or not this question has any relevance. There's two big problems with your question:
The wealth gap, as measured by net worth, is much more extreme than the chasm as measured by income.
The Times had estimated the threshold for being in the top 1 percent in household income at about \$380,000 dollars. That is 7.5 times median household income. But for net worth, the 1 percent threshold for net worth in the Fed data was nearly \$8.4 million dollars, or 69 times the median household’s net holdings of \$121,000. source
The government goes after income more than it goes after wealth. For example, you can live in a \$8 million mansion and get Universal Healthcare subsidies if you make less than ~$94,000 a year with a family of four.source
At the end of the day, when Bill Gates retired from Microsoft, he wasn't suddenly poor. If you think there is a problem with wealth inequality, looking at income isn't a great way to find out if you are right or not.
If there's 5 people, with enough food for 5 people and person 1 eats it all today. Tomorrow person 1 leaves and a new guy comes in. He eats all of today's food. When the 4 people sitting there starving start complaining that the share of the food is unequal and that they are starving, what does it matter that it wasn't the same guy who ate it all twice in a row? The problem here is the inequality itself not who is getting the unequal treatment.
*Not actually a fact. Data shows this is the opposite of a fact.