Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The Ills of Inequality - They blame the poor for being poor.

In the United States, where wealth inequality is extreme and getting worse:
  • The richest 24,000 adults (the .01%) have an average of over $400,000,000 in wealth (mostly financial)
  • The poorest 120,000,000 adults (the bottom 50%) have an average of about $8,500 in wealth (mostly housing) 
Global inequality is similar in the degree of disparity:
  • The richest 500,000 adults (the .01%) have an estimated average of $30,000,000 in wealth
  • The poorest 2.5 billion adults (the bottom 50%) have an average of about $673 in wealth 
 If researchers Saez and Zucman are correct (and they usually are), an incredible $14 trillion of global wealth is being hidden in offshore tax havens. That's approximately the total wealth of the entire United Kingdom

And then there's the stock market, more than tripling in value since the recession, repeatedly reaching record highs, with almost all of the gains going to the richest 10%. Average working Americans, on the other hand, get almost no interest on their meager bank accounts. 

The life expectancy gap in the U.S. between the richest 1% and poorest 1% is growing, especially with the opioid crisis infecting the poverty-stricken (and typically white) parts of the nation, just like tobacco in the 1950s. Life expectancy for the poorest classes is now equivalent to that of Sudan or Pakistan. After decades of progress in longevity, this stunning turnaround has closely paralleled the decreasing incomes and lack of job opportunities for American workers. It's a similar story for infant mortality: survival rates are higher in more equal countries. Americans at all income levels are experiencing higher levels of stress and mental illness compared to 40 years ago.

 Even upper-middle-income people suffer mental health problems when living or working around people who make more money. In the U.S., a shockingly low 5 percent of the population believes inequality is a major issue, even as they suffer the physical and mental symptoms of a distressingly divided society.

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