El bienestar estadounidense desde 1979

BERKELEY – Se suele decir que desde 1979 (el punto cúlmine del último ciclo económico antes de que Ronald Reagan asumiera como Presidente) el crecimiento económico en los Estados Unidos ha beneficiado abrumadora y exclusivamente a los ricos y que los salarios reales (ajustados a la inflación), los ingresos y los estándares de vida de sus hogares pobres y de clase media de Estados Unidos han aumentado de manera irrelevante, en el mejor de los casos. Si bien el PGB real per cápita anual ha crecido un 72%, de $29.000 a $50.000 (en precios de 2009), casi todo este crecimiento ha beneficiado a quienes ocupan hoy la capa más alta de la distribución del ingreso de EE.UU.

Todo esto es cierto, pero hay algunas consideraciones importantes. Una de ellas se encuentra en el informe Distribución de los Impuestos Federales y los Ingresos de los Hogares, publicado el año pasado por la Oficina Presupuestaria del Congreso de EE.UU. (CBO, por su sigla en inglés). El ingreso real después de impuestos del quintil más bajo de los hogares estadounidenses fue un 49% más alto en 2010 que en 1979, creciendo a un promedio del 1,3% por año. El ingreso después de impuestos para los tres quintiles medios en 2010 fue un 40% más alto, equivalente a un crecimiento promedio anual del 1,1%.

No hay duda de que los percentiles 81 al 99 subieron en un 64% su ingreso después de impuestos y el 1% superior lo hizo en un 201%, lo que representa una tasa de crecimiento anual promedio de un 3,6%, mucho mayor que cualquier otro grupo de ingresos. Y ahora que la recuperación también se concentra en los ricos, es muy probable que el 1% superior de estadounidenses se esté acercando a un aumento acumulado del 300% desde 1979.

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