The actual Distribution of Wealth in the US is not what most people think it is

Now this is a very interesting clip that blows a few myths out of the water.

First, before we dive in, let’s clarify a rather important point, here we are talking about wealth, not income. If you measure income, then you are not really measuring wealth at all. I might have an income of $1 million (if only), but if I also spend $1 million, then I’m left with exactly nothing at all. No, instead we are interested here to see who retains the wealth, and the answer is a bit of a surprise.

What is shocking is not simply the current distribution of wealth, but also the ongoing trend of the vast bulk of the wealth being accumulated by fewer and fewer people. There will come a point where the distribution is so skewed that the 99% rise up against the 1%.

The consequences of such an unequal wealth distribution are rather clear, it generates poorer health, lower educational attainment, higher crime rates, lower spending of social capital, lower cooperation with and trust of government, and so we are all poorer for living in a more unequal society. This is not just about the poor, because inequality is as bad for the rich as it is for the poor. Society is poorer as inequality becomes greater.

Why is it like this? I suspect it is all being driven by low taxes, a weak trade union movement, low minimum wages and a tradition of individualism.

So who gets the balance right? The Scandinavian nations do, they have the lowest inequality. I wonder if some of that is a result of their cradle-to-grave social programs.

Today millions in the US are struggling against poverty or near poverty, and at the same time the rich are becoming even more obscenely richer, and yes, I am indeed suggesting that tax breaks for these economic royalists is utterly abhorrent.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery. – Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849

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