You are clubbing all the 1% into a single group. There's a study by Saez and Zucman of Berkley/LSE that talks about how clubbing the entire 1% into a single group is disingenuous -- The other wealth gapâ"the 1% vs the 0.01%.
Most of the 1% to .1% are nothing more than hardworking Americans with a Calvinistic work ethic who have been successful. It is easy to do the math and realize how a two income family can break into the 1% territory after a couple of decades of hard work and fiscally conservative habits. Socially and economically, they are nothing like the top .1%.
The surge in 1% is entirely attributable to the growth in capital of the .1% while the rest of the 1% has in fact stagnated. The "middle rich" (1% - 10%) are in fact losing ground to the top .1% (i.e. capital is flowing upward) while the 1% to .1% have merely succeeded in holding on to their wealth.
Most government policies favor the really rich and *punish* the hardworking upper middle classes. In fact, I would argue in favor of Reagan-esque tax policies for these folks, who are for the most part well educated, successful individuals in banking, law, medicine, technology, consulting and so on. These are the ones who are really building the economy, but the ones who are being punished by the government and vilified by the mass media who club them with the truly wealthy.
Imagine a successful husband and wife earning $150k/year, working in a white collar job (lawyers, doctors, consultants, IT -- take your pick). According to the IRS, making $343k/year puts you in the top 1% (by income). But what about wealth? Well, that's supposedly $8.4MM.
Some simple math will make it evident that a husband and wife earning (an average) of $171k for 40 years (assume raises and lower starter incomes are factored into the average) who save 15% of their annual income, with a starting principal of $10000 will have ~$5.4 MM at the end of their careers. Assume that they invested in a home that cost $300k early in their careers, whose value has gone up 5X in the 30 year time that they had to pay off the mortgage. Assume that they more or less maxed out their 401K, giving them $17,500.00/year for 40 years each, which is ~$1.4MM. At best, they have $8.4 MM, assuming market crashes, children's education, and life threatening diseases didn't wipe out their savings.
However, by virtue of having $8.4 MM, suddenly, these people are being placed in the *same* category as someone with enough capital to buy legislation or pay an army of Cravath lawyers. That is not factoring in any smart investing in what's been a pretty bullish run (minus the recent crisis) or basic fiscal conservatism.