By Autor’s calculations, if you’d taken all the income gains that flowed to the 1 percent over the last 35 years and redistributed them evenly to everyone else in the economy, that would have delivered an extra $7,100 a year to every household in the bottom 99 percent. That’s a lot of money. But it’s not as much as the growing pay differential between workers who went to college and those who didn’t.
In the last 35 years, he calculates, the so-called college premium – the boost in your paycheck from earning a diploma – increased by $28,000, adjusted for inflation. So if you took that entire increase and redistributed it to non-college workers, you’d be giving them a raise four times the size of the 1 percent redistribution.