On Friday's Inside Washington on PBS, regular panel member Nina Totenberg of NPR incorrectly claimed that the "top tenth of one percent" of income earners in America "controls something like 20 or 30 percent" of the nation's income, and went on to characterize the economic situation as being worse than it has been in "hundreds of years," as she suggested income gaps were at a level that "people came to this country to avoid."
In reality, it is the top one percent - not the top "tenth of one percent" - that earns about a quarter of the nation's income.
As the group discussed the Occupy Wall Street protests, Totenberg made the following observations:
NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: I am actually surprised that the current polling - it won't necessarily continue this way - seems to sort of like these folks. They get decent approval ratings, even though, even though nobody quite knows quite what they're for. Everybody does know-
MARK SHIELDS, COLUMNIS: Even they don't.
TOTENBERG: Even they don't. And what people do know - (UNINTELLIBLE) the statistics - but when the top tenth of one percent controls something like 20 or 30 percent of the income in this country, that, the income gap has grown to what, the kind of thing that existed hundreds of years ago that people came to this country to avoid.