Study: The wealthiest 1 percent of American households own 40 percent of the country’s wealth


Those GOP plutocrat campaign donors really need their tax cuts (not). Christopher Ingraham reports,  The richest 1 percent now owns more of the country’s wealth than at any time in the past 50 years:

The wealthiest 1 percent of American households own 40 percent of the country’s wealth, according to a new paper by economist Edward N. Wolff. That share is higher than it has been at any point since at least 1962, according to Wolff’s data, which comes from the federal Survey of Consumer Finances.

From 2013, the share of wealth owned by the 1 percent shot up by nearly three percentage points. Wealth owned by the bottom 90 percent, meanwhile, fell over the same period. Today, the top 1 percent of households own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. That gap, between the ultrawealthy and everyone else, has only become wider in the past several decades.

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 8.03.19 AM

Christopher Ingraham provides a detailed analysis, then concludes:

This kind of extreme inequality is bad for the economy. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which represents a number of the world’s richest countries including the United States, estimates that inequality has knocked nearly five percentage points off the economic growth in those countries between 2000 and 2015.

In high-inequality countries, people from poor households typically have less access to quality education. This leads to “large amounts of wasted potential and lower social mobility,” which directly harms economic growth, according to the OECD.

If you were designing a tax plan to reduce the extreme inequality in the United States, you’d probably try to find ways to redistribute some of the wealth from the richest households to the poorest ones. But the Senate GOP tax plan does precisely the opposite of that, according to the CBO: In the short term the richest households get the biggest tax cuts, while longer term the taxes of the poorest households actually increase.

Estate tax? Cut. Income tax rate for millionaires? Cut (at least in the Senate bill). Corporate tax rate? Biggest rate cut ever.

In the long term that probably means more of the pie for the super-rich, and less of it for everyone else.

Welcome to a life of serfdom living under a corporatocracy of oligarchs.


  1. “America is rich AF, but the majority of American’s do not benefit from that wealth.”

    It is an old and cliched question, but it is also a valid to ask: When was the last time anyone got a job from the average Joe? The “rich” are people who take the risks in starting a business. And it < a risk – a BIG risk. Most people can’t cut it and fail. Among the ones that succeed, the struggle can go on for years.

    Where is it written that those who are successful have a requirement to dissipate the wealth they generated giving that wealth away because people like you think they should? You work for a large company that I assume is successful. You receive decent compensation for your time and effort. Why do you think you – or anyone – has a right to demand the owners and risk takers of the Company should redistribute the wealth generated by the Company?

    You once owned a company…did you redistribute all your profits to others? You weren’t successful at running the business but you risked everything to do it…your employees and your next door neighbor didn’t take any risks. Should you have had an obligation to take what you earned through your hard work and risk?

  2. This should be on the front page of every newspaper, magazine, and website. They should blast it from the radio and TV 24/7.

    America is rich AF, but the majority of American’s do not benefit from that wealth.

Comments are closed.