The number of households with a net worth of $1 million or more grew by 600,000 to reach 9.63 million in 2013, hitting a new record, according to a report from the consulting and research firm Spectrum Group. This makes 2013 the best year for the wealthy since the years before the financial crash, when millionaire households peaked at 9.2 million.
Last year was also a continuation of the growth in income inequality from 2009 to 2012 which saw the 1 percent capture 95 percent of post-financial crash income gains. The last four years have served as a reflection of the income inequality that has plagued the growth of the American middle class over the last 30 years, in which the the richest 20 percent of Americans saw incomes grow by $2,550 while the bottom 20 percent grew by $1,330 over the same period.
This period of high income inequality has led to an incredibly harsh economic environment for the poor and middle class. Throughout the last 30 years, more Americans have been forced into debt, public health has declined, crime increased, campaign contributions and SuperPAC funding became skewed toward the wealthy, social mobility declined, and long-term economic growth stagnated. But according to IMF researchers, attacking income inequality through taxation and redistribution are the keys to reversing these trends and barriers to prosperity while boosting economic growth.