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Income goes up...especially for the rich

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

After two years of declines, Americans' income finally rose in 2010. The Internal Revenue Service provided a first peek at taxpayers' returns and it showed that adjusted gross income totaled $8 trillion, up 5.2% from 2009.


But a closer look at the data reveals that only the wealthiest Americans will be popping the Cristal.

Taxpayers earning more than $250,000 saw their total adjusted gross incomes rise by 13.8%, while those bringing home between $200K and $250K enjoyed at 6.7% increase, according to a CNNMoney analysis.

Middle-class Americans? Not so fortunate. Those making between $50K and $100K saw their incomes creep up only 1.5%.

Part of the imbalance comes from differences in the growth of wages, the largest component of adjusted gross income.

Overall, salaries and wages grew 2.1%. But the super-rich saw an 11.2% hike, and those just below them enjoyed a 4.6% increase.

But the middle class saw a drop of 0.7% in wages.

And while capital gains rose healthily for most income brackets, the wealthiest taxpayers benefited from a 37.6% hike, and those in the bracket below pocketed 32% more. Middle-income folks saw only a 19.8% increase.

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