• United States
News Editor

Want to get ahead? … Start there.

Feb 27, 20062 mins

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman this morning shoots holes in the notion that widening income divides in this country are simply a byproduct of 20% of the populace getting with the technology program while the other 80% remains mired in yesterday’s dead-end jobs. In other words, getting through that grueling CCIE exam isn’t necessarily your ticket to easy street.

From Krugman (behind the newspaper’s TimesSelect wall): “A new research paper by Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon of Northwestern University, “Where Did the Productivity Growth Go?,” gives the details. Between 1972 and 2001 the wage and salary income of Americans at the 90th percentile of the income distribution rose only 34 percent, or about 1 percent per year. So being in the top 10 percent of the income distribution, like being a college graduate, wasn’t a ticket to big income gains.”

“But income at the 99th percentile rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181 percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497 percent. No, that’s not a misprint.”

“Just to give you a sense of who we’re talking about: the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that this year the 99th percentile will correspond to an income of $402,306, and the 99.9th percentile to an income of $1,672,726. The center doesn’t give a number for the 99.99th percentile, but it’s probably well over $6 million a year.”

Now get your nose back to the virtual grindstone.

News Editor

In addition to my editing duties, I have written Buzzblog since January, 2006 and wrote the 'Net Buzz column in Network World's dearly departed print edition for 13 years. Feel free to e-mail me at