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Indeed, economists have found that the top tier of Americans earn a disproportionately large percent of the income, and they almost always have. The income gap narrowed just after the Great Depression but has been climbing since -- most sharply in the 1980s and 1990s. An analysis of income tax returns by economists Emmanuel Saez at the University of California, Berkley, and Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics found that income going to the top 1 percent doubled from 8 percent of total income earned in the workforce in 1980 to 16 percent in 2004, and reached pre-Depression levels in 2005.
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