IRS says U.S. rich getting richer, others not-WSJ

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NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters) The richest 1 percent of Americans earned a record 21.2 percent of all income in 2005, up from 19 percent a year earlier, reflecting a widening income disparity among different classes in the nation, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing new Internal Revenue Service data.

The data showed that the fortunes of the bottom 50 percent of Americans are worsening, with that group earning 12.8 percent of all income in 2005, down from 13.4 percent the year before, the paper said.

It said that while the IRS data goes back only to 1986, academic research suggests that the last time wealthy Americans had such a high percentage of the national income was in the 1920s.

The article cited an interview with President Bush, who attributed income inequality to ''skills gaps'' among various classes. It said the IRS didn't identify the source of rising income for the affluent, but said a boom on Wall Street has likely played a part.

REUTERS PBB DS1150

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