Is the US system rigged for the rich? - CSMonitor.com Thirty years ago, the richest 1 percent of Americans got 9 percent of total national income. By 2007, they had 23 percent. Last year, new census data show, the rich-poor income gap was the widest on record. Wealth is more unevenly distributed. The top 20 percent of wealth-holders own 84 percent of America's wealth. What's causing it? One factor is federal policy, says a study by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It finds that most federal subsidies aimed at building wealth, such as certain tax deductions (officially called "expenditures"), credits, and preferential rates, go to the richest taxpayers.