Saturday, November 15, 2014

Top 0.1 Percent Has More Wealth Than Bottom 90 Percent

This post comes from an article on the Mother Jones  blog by Inae Oh.

It's a reflection of what is fundamentally wrong in America.  Less than 160,000 families have more money than the other 316 million of us combined.    Stunning, shameful, incredibly corrosive to our economy and our democracy:.. those are some words I would choose to describe this circumstance.

Economics is pretty simple at its most basic.  Markets are a place where sellers come to deal with people who have the need to buy at least the necessities among all those things for sale. But, when the vast majority of people are no longer able to participate in that marketplace, because they have almost nothing to exchange for even basic needs like  food, shelter, and healthcare; when that happens,  the entire idea of a marketplace is undermined.    Sad to say, that is exactly what is wrong with America's today.  In effect, our economy is trapped in a malaise caused a tiny fraction of us owning all the wealth. 

All of the political power in America has fallen into the hands of big bankers, bloated corporations, and the super-rich.  Until that changes,  nine out of ten of us will continue to get the very short end of the stick.

From Inae Oh's Mother Jones blog piece...

While a complex web of factors have contributed to the rise in income inequality in America, a new research paper says most of the blame can be largely placed in the immense growth experienced by the top tenth of the richest 1 percent of Americans in recent years. From the report:

The rise of wealth inequality is almost entirely due to the rise of the top 0.1% wealth share, from 7% in 1979 to 22% in 2012, a level almost as high as in 1929. The bottom 90% wealth share first increased up to the mid-1980s and then steadily declined. The increase in wealth concentration is due to the surge of top incomes combined with an increase in saving rate inequality.
So, who are the 0.1 percent among us? According to Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the paper's researchers, the elite group is a small one, roughly composed of 160,000 families with assets exceeding $20 million, but their grip on America's wealth distribution is about to surpass the bottom 90 percent for the first time in more than half a century.  Today's 0.1 percent also tend to be younger than the top incomers of the 1960's, despite the fact the country as a whole has been living longer—proving once again, that there has truly never been a more opportune time to be rich in America:

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