The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans earned more than 20 percent of all income in 2005. That means the richest Americans have surpassed the highs of the booming 1990s, according to the latest data from the IRS.
The numbers provide more proof that inequality is rising in this country. And they help explain why many Americans report feeling economic distress despite overall economic growth.
Scholars say that's partly due to the switch to a service and technology-based economy. Now economic rewards go to skilled workers, and, of course, to those on Wall Street.
A University of Chicago study shows that the highest-earning hedge-fund manager in 2005 earned double the salary of the top earner just two years earlier.