Data on Upper-Class Wages by President

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The Table

		Last		Mean Wage	Wage Increase
		Year	Years	Top 20%		Top 20%
R:Bush II	2001	1	145,970		 397
D:Clinton	2000	8	145,573		4115
R:Bush I 	1992	4	112,653		-147
R:Reagan	1988	8	113,241		2442
D:Carter	1980	4	93,705		1267
R:Ford	1976	3	88,639		-963
R:Nixon	1973	5	91,528		2102
D:Johnson	1968	5	81,019	

Here's the same table, in a more concise form:

Yearly Wage Increase for top 20% of earners, by President, sorted best-to-worst:

D:Clinton 	4115
R:Reagan  	2442
D:Carter  	1267
R:Bush II 	 397
R:Bush I  	-147
R:Ford		-963

Analysis

This table shows wealthy people, ie people who make about $150,000.

We all know that Democrats like to "Screw the Rich," right? Check again: during the Democratic years, wealthy people got big pay raises - on average, $3165 per year. During the Republican years, the pay raises were much smaller - on average, $1028 per year.

What's amazing is that wealthy people support Republicans. True, Republicans cut taxes on the wealthy. Yes, that saves wealthy people a few bucks. But the big pay raises that wealthy people get under Democrats cancel out the cost of the taxes very quickly.

Suppose you make $150,000 every year. A Democrat raises your income tax by five percent. That's like a one-time pay cut of $7,500. The Democrat uses that money to implement liberal policy, which causes your salary to rise by $3,165 every year. Within four years, you're making significantly more than you would have with a Republican, getting a $1028 pay raise every year. (Update: it occurs to me that a 5% increase to the top marginal rate is significantly less than a $7,500 cut for a person making $150,000. Also, the $3165 should be reduced by 40% and the $1028 should be reduced by 35%. I'm not sure how long it will take to reach parity... maybe three years, maybe five. I'll recalculate later.)

By the way, I strongly suspect that the big pay raises that wealthy people received under Democrats don't stop with Clinton and Carter. I suspect that the wealthy got big pay raises under Johnson, Kennedy, and Roosevelt as well. I don't know where to find the data to support this, but I have no doubt that it's true.

Methodology

Data Source: Census Bureau, table H3 (Mean Income Received by Each Fifth and Top 5 Percent of Households).

For each president, I wrote down the last year he was in office, and therefore, the last year he had control over the budget. I also wrote down the mean income for workers in the top 20%. I then compared the mean income to the mean income of the president before, and divided by the number of years in office.

Unfortunately, this particular census bureau table only goes back to 1967. Also unfortunately, it's for households, not individuals, and I prefer using individual data (I think it's unfair to compare a two-person working household in 2000 to a one-person working household in 1950 - yes, they may be making more, but it's because they've got twice as many workers.) If anybody can find me some better data source, let me know: [1]

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