That's the title of an article by Kevin D. Williamson in the National Review Online. Here's an excerpt.
Are the rich really getting richer? That’s a pretty standard line from the Left, a lament usually cited in the course of calling for higher tax rates. Robert Reich is particularly fond of this mode of attack: A recent post of his was headlined, "For 70 years, the wealthy have grown wealthier". Professor Reich probably doesn’t write his own headlines, but it’s a common enough sentiment for him, and his prose is rich with phrases such as "the super-rich got even wealthier this year".
He isn’t alone in employing this mode. Take this from an April 7 Salon article: "And surely the rich don’t need that 25 percent top rate in the way poor folks need programs like TANF and seniors need Medicare - about 90 percent of all American income gains since the 1970s have gone to the top 10 percent of earners."
This is not true.
The numbers generally cited in support of this argument do not actually tell us much about what has happened to the incomes of wealthy households over time. That’s because the people who are in the top bracket today are not the people who were in the top bracket last year. There’s a good deal of socioeconomic mobility in the United States - more than you’d think. Our dear, dear friends at the IRS keep track of actual households (boy, do they ever!), and sometimes the Treasury publishes data about what has happened to them. For instance, among those who in 1996 were in the very highest income group isolated for study - the top 0.01 percent - 75 percent were in a lower income group by 2005. The median real income of super-rich households went down, not up. The rich got poorer. Among actual households, income grew proportionally more for those who started off in the low-income groups than those that began in high-income groups.
. . .
About 50 percent of U.S. households move from one income group to a different one every decade, and actual households initially in the low-income groups see proportionally more income growth than do actual households initially in the high-income groups.
When somebody says that that top 1 percent saw its income go up by X in the last decade, they are not really talking about what happened to actual households in the top 1 percent. Rather, they are talking about how much money one has to make to qualify for the top 1 percent. All that really means is that the 3 million highest-paid Americans in 2010 made more money than did the 3 million highest-paid Americans in 2000 ... But, as the Treasury data show: They are not the same people.
There's more at the link.
Mr. Williamson has an interesting perspective on the "rich vs. poor" issue. If he's right, it suggests that a great deal of the vitriol directed against "the rich" is, at best, as excessive as their alleged consumption patterns. However, I'm sure that proponents of such vitriol will rapidly try to debunk his argument, and provide "facts" and "figures" to "prove" that the rich are, in reality, greedy, selfish, and the enemies of "the people".
Marx, from his grave, will doubtless approve (his grave being perhaps the only remaining, genuine Communist plot!).