Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Wealth Of Problems

We've seen plenty of charts on America's income being lopsided as Republicans are more than happy to give the richest Americans a trillion-dollar tax cut or three while ravaging social programs, but it turns out America's wealth distribution is even worse.

Research from Berkeley economists has found incomes at the top 0.001% of the income strata surged a whopping 636% between 1980 and 2014, while wages for the bottom half of the population were basically stuck in place.

Critics of that body of work say its use of pre-tax data masks some of the equalizing effects of the tax code, and thus overstates inequality. If that were indeed the case, a look at the distribution of wealth as opposed to just income, while harder to measure, could be a better barometer as to the true state of America’s social divide. 
This chart courtesy of Deutsch Bank economist Torsten Slok shows the picture with regards to wealth is even bleaker. The richest 10% of families are worth a combined $51 trillion, equal to 75% of total household wealth. To put that figure in perspective, US GDP totaled $18.5 trillion in 2016.

DB Wealth inequality

Please note America's total wealth doubled during Bill Clinton's two terms, from $30T to $60T, and wealth went up among America's bottom 50%, tripling to $3T or so.  It really was a boom time, and them Dubya came along and screwed us.
Still, the problem remains that just 10 percent of the country owns three-quarters of the wealth in America, and most of us have nothing or next to nothing.  Now we're ruled by a cabal that seems to think that the wealthiest ten percent need more trillions at our expense.
Don't count on voters to fix this either.

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