Like so much on CNN, this ditty called "The Poor Get Richer" starts off with big profound statements and then just piddles like a 6 week old Cocker Spaniel. It pretty much says nothing: about four years of data that is not necessarily significant vs. the previous 40 years...it's not really a trend, yet. Ooo, but it gets better: it's by a senior editor at Fortune, so it must be good.
Between 2001 and 2004 (the most recent year for which data are available), incomes of the poorest 20 percent of families increased while incomes of the richest 20 percent fell. Basically, the poorest families' share of total incomes grew, and the richest families' share shrank. Incomes became just a little less unequal.
What I would like to see the histogram for this data. What they describe sounds more like a shift in the shape of the curve rather than the economic paradigm shift they suggest and then fall back from.
Here's an idea, hold on to your panties b/c this one will piss some folks off: The downward push on the average salaries of highly-degreed folks like myself may be a result of saturation of the job market: too many PhD-toting, MBA-wieldin', MS/MA-weary folks out there. Meanwhile, on the other end of the education scale, maybe some of the economic, social, and educational programs implemented in the 1990's finally were evidenced in 2001-2004 salary data, when high-school grads benefiting from those programs became a large enough percentage of the workforce that their higher salaries impacted the stats.
Or maybe I just live in France.