Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What To Think of a Place Where 90 Percent Owns 2 Percent of All Wealth

•The top 10 percent of Americans now earn half of our national income, while the bottom 90% collectively own less than 2 percent of the nation's wealth. There is more income inequality in America than at any time since 1928, when this statistic was first kept.
•61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck, which is up from 49% in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
•Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line, which is the highest rate in 20 years.
•Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income since 1975 to match the rise in housing costs.

•83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of just the top 1% of Americans. And the top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America's corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.  
For all its achievements, America still has a long way to go before it can be said that this is a country of fairness and basic equality, where everybody's got a fair chance in the "game" of life. Leo Hindery, Jr. recites these shocking facts in a column about Ariana Huffington's new book Third World America. He is an investor and chairman of the US Economy/Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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