House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is hopping mad about the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich -- specifically, about Democrats' continued opposition to extending them. Failing to blow a $36 billion hole in the budget, failing to ask the rich to pay what they paid during the Clinton era, would "be the most irresponsible thing that I have seen since I have been in Washington," Rep. Boehner says.
The income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its widest amount on record as young adults and children in particular struggled to stay afloat in the recession.
The top-earning 20 percent of Americans -- those making more than $100,000 each year -- received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line, according to newly released census figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.
A different measure, the international Gini index, found U.S. income inequality at its highest level since the Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967. The U.S. also has the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations.
At the top, the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, census data show. Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.
"Dear Candidate X -- Is this a good thing or a bad thing?" Maddow tweets. "If it's bad, what's your plan for dealing with it?"