I’d like to think inequality can’t get worse than this, but it of course can.
Nonetheless, this is stunning. Forget about the comparisons to the gilded age. We’re past that now.
Paul Buchheit reports at Common Dreams that the bottom 70% of Americans own a mere 6.9% of our wealth:
That’s 70%. Not just the most impoverished, or the poorest half, but a full 70% of us are near the bottom of the world in percentage of wealth ownership. Just 6.9 percent of the wealth is owned by 70% of us. All other reporting nations range between about 13 and 30 percent.
That’s very close to a quarter billion people. To be more precise, it’s 235 million Americans. It’s roughly three percent of the entire world’s population.
Here’s another group that owns 6.9% of our wealth: The wealthiest 5,000 American households, or about 12,000 individuals. That’s not the 1%, or the .1%, or even the .01%. It’s roughly the .004%. That’s 4 out of every 100,000 Americans.
Got that? Wealth of 12,000 = Wealth of 235,000,000.
Or: Wealth of 70% = Wealth of .004%
Or: Wealth of 70,000 = Wealth of 4
If you’re not a numbers person, consider this visual: Imagine the entire country outside of Texas, California, New York and Florida. In other words, 46 of our 50 states. Now, imagine a crowd that doesn’t quite fill a basketball arena. The crowd in the basketball arena has as much wealth as the population of those 46 states.
And the momentum is all in favor of that crowd in the basketball arena. Unless and until ordinary Americans get out in the streets and demand the wealthy be taxed at double the levels they’re taxed now, things will get worse.
Time for the pitchforks, folks.