Friday, July 16, 2010

US wealth gap increasing

The wealth gap in the USA is the worst since the Gilded Age, writes Gus Lubin in this Business Insider article, complete with 15 charts to anger and/or sicken us.

Unlike many other nations (France is shown, in chart 13), where the wealth gap is not increasing, the richest people in the USA now control the largest percentage of wealth since the Roaring Twenties. Half of the folks in the USA, combined, own a mere 2.5% of the country's wealth; the top 1% owns a third.

Real average earnings are about where they were a half-century ago (adjusted to 2008 dollars, the average hourly wage in 1964 was $17.54; in 2008 it was $18.52). CEOs and business owners have seen their income triple and double, respectively--and the wealthy have paid less and less in taxes. Normalized to 1979, the top 1% has had its share of US wealth more than double; the top 10% has kept even--and the bottom 90% has seen its share shrink.

Yet people are still worried that the U.S. is perilously close to socialism?!


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