“Forty years of no economic growth for 90 percent of the American people. One-hundred-and-sixty-thousand families in top point-one percent have the same wealth as bottom 90 percent. And we’ve got the worst income inequality that we’ve had in 100 years.”
— Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.)
Bennet’s claim that 90 percent of Americans saw no economic growth for 40 years is wrong.
He repeated a variation of a common talking point among Democrats. But that doesn’t make it right. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported the bottom four quintiles saw an average income growth of 32 percent from 1979 to 2015 before transfers and taxes. When including taxes and transfers, the middle three quintiles (21st to 80th percent) saw a 46 percent increase in income. Americans in the lowest quintile saw a 79 percent income increase.
Inflation-adjusted wages stagnated for the bottom 60 percent, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute.