YESTERDAY'S report from the Revenue Commissioners showing that the wealthiest people in our society are paying a smaller share of income tax than they were in 2006 is part of a global trend.
While wages in many western countries are almost stagnant (see graphic above), salaries for the top earners are rising quickly.
Our graphic shows that Hay Consultants, the world's leading pay and benefits company, does not expect any pay increase in Ireland or Greece this year, and only very small rises in many other European countries.
Despite falling or stagnant salaries for most of us, some people are doing very well. In Ireland, for example, there are more people earning €200,000 than there were five years ago, and these people have seen smaller tax hikes than people at the bottom of the pile.
This trend has been repeated almost everywhere over recent decades and pose real threats to the economy, according to many economists. If rising income gaps are at least partly responsible for the global credit crisis, governments and companies should be wary of squeezing wages yet again to help rebuild their finances.
In the long build up to the global financial crisis, households took on debt to offset the gradual fall in their incomes and consumption relative to the more wealthy.
But as they'll get little or no help from easy credit today, driving wages down even more risks a cratering of household consumption and a severe test of social cohesion.
A renewed public focus on decades of widening wealth and wage inequality in the United States, Britain and other developed and developing economies has been one of the most durable legacies of the five-year-old credit crisis.
Work by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz on the 1pc of US super-rich, "Occupy" protest movements around the world and electoral swings to the left have all spotlighted what business, finance or government elites now realise they can't ignore.
While the share of US gross domestic product going to wages and salaries has fallen 10 percentage points to 43pc since 1970, the slice going to companies in after-tax profits has surged, doubling to 12pc since 2005 in what HSBC described as "one of the most chilling charts in finance".
Whether you fear the impact on people's aspirations and sense of social justice or the sustainability of the corporate world's inflated share of the pie, the numbers are alarming everyone.
Marino Valensise, chief investment officer at Baring Asset Management, told the Reuters Investment Outlook Summit last month that the fallout in terms of national psychology, public policy and consumption could be extensive. "The US has never been as unequal as today. The American dream has become an American nightmare over the past 20 years."
Highlighting the sharp rise in inequality as measured by the so-called GINI coefficient of wealth distribution and the fact that US median incomes are no higher than they were 20 years ago, he said the social and political risks stemming from US income inequality was one of his big strategic economic themes of the next five to 10 years.
But the phenomenon goes well beyond the United States.
Some 26 of 30 countries covered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have shown a falling labour share of national income since 1990. International Labour Organisation data shows the gap between the top 10pc of earners and bottom 10pc has risen in 23 of 31 nations since 1995. (Additional reporting Reuters)