US Inequality Requires a New Math: Wealth of 20 > Wealth of 152 Million

Inequality - 20 Wealthiest

Read this:  Sometimes you just can’t seem to make a point sink in.  One of the best examples of this is the importance of inequality as one of the major obstacles to a functioning democracy.  No matter how often inequality is cited people just say wow and go about their business.  Where is the outrage, the calls for action, the refusal to continue?  To make a point, on inequality, we often talk about the wealth of the Forbes 400, the top 1 % or the or the top .01 %.  Forget all that.  The article in link below from The Nation Magazine, by Joshua Holland gives us some of the newest data on wealth and inequality and it is obscene.  A “report released on Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) reveals. According to ‘Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us,’ just the twenty individuals at the top of the pile—a group that could fit into a Gulfstream G650 luxury jet, according to the study’s authors—now control more wealth than the bottom half of the population. That’s 152 million people living in 57 million households.”

Remarkably, “Chuck Collins … (a) co-author of the report, tells The Nation that their study likely underestimates the scope of the problem.”  You have to be kidding.  NOPE!  “So much wealth among the über-rich is hidden, either in offshore tax havens or in these loophole trusts where money is shuffled around into private corporate accounts or between different family members, and it disappears from taxation or any sort of oversight or accountability.”  Collins says “it is only getting worse” siting several related factors:

  • “893,914 avoidable deaths per year – compared with those other economies. That’s more unnecessary deaths than are associated with tobacco use, car accidents, and gun deaths combined”
  • Demise of our social fabric – as “people create mythologies about each other—like the ‘makers versus takers’ rhetoric that reared its ugly head during the 2012 presidential election”
  • Detrimental national policy changes – ” Those at the very top didn’t become three times as smart or lucky or good-looking in the intervening years. They’ve benefited from changes in things like trade policy, the tax code, and collective-bargaining rules—all policy changes they’ve used their wealth to champion.”
  • political connections: “our elected officials are highly sensitive to the interests of the wealthiest Americans (and overwhelmingly belong to that group themselves), pay some attention to those of the middle class—and the views of the poor don’t factor into legislators’ voting tendencies at all.”

Where does this all end?  ” Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, argues that sky-high inequality in the Middle East is a major reason terrorist groups like ISIS find fertile ground for recruitment.”  If we are to keep this from eventually happening here, in the US, change needs to come from We The People and maybe it will.  The absurdity of this wealth disparity may eventually sink in.  Finally, the article concludes with hope saying “People are realizing that a certain amount of inequality is part of how our society works, but these are absurdly extreme levels of inequality, … And while we can talk all day about policy fixes, those things won’t matter unless we actually build a movement to tax wealth and invest it in things that create opportunity for everyone else.”



  1. #1 by Tom Olson on December 5, 2015 - 6:55 pm

    This is staggering truth that has to be hammered to the population to effect change. Thanks for posting this information.

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