CBO: Poorest Americans 18 Percent Richer Under George W. Bush Than Jimmy Carter

October 26, 2011 - 3:59 PM
George H.W. Bush. Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter

President George W. Bush met with President-elect Barack Obama and former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office on Jan. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) -The Congressional Budget Office reported on Monday that the inflation-adjusted, after-tax income of the poorest American households was 18 percent higher in 2007 when George W. Bush was president than it had been in 1979, when Jimmy Carter was president.

“For the 20 percent of the population with the lowest income, average real after-tax household income was about 18 percent higher in 2007 than it had been in 1979,” said the CBO.

The revelation came in a report—“Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007”—that concluded that although American households in all income brackets had seen their after-tax incomes rise in inflation-adjusted terms between 1979 and 2007, richer households saw larger relative increases in their income than poorer households.

“For the 60 percent of the population in the middle of the income scale (the 21st through 80th percentiles), the growth in average real after-tax household income was just under 40 percent” between 1979 and 2007, said the report.

For “the 20 percent of the population with the highest income (those in the 81st through 99th percentiles), average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent over that period,” said CBO.

For the 1 percent of the population at the very top of the income scale real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007.

The report did not say how many who were young in 1979 and who were then ranked among the poorest households found themselves in 2007, in middle age, in a household with a much higher income ranking.

For this reason, among others, the report acknowledged that its measure of annual income did not provide a complete measure of a household’s well-being.

“Because annual income is only one measure of economic well-being, trends in the distribution of annual income may provide an incomplete picture of trends in the distribution of well-being,” said the report. “For example, a household’s income in any given year may not accurately represent its economic circumstances over a longer period. Average income over multiple years, even over a lifetime, might be a better indicator of a household’s economic well-being.”

The report also did not indicate what has happened to household incomes since 2007.