© Len Tsou/Unarmed Civilian/flickr/cc
It was recently reported that Americans greatly underestimate
the degree of inequality in our country. If we were given proper media coverage of the endless takeaway of our country's wealth by the super-rich, we would be infuriated. And we would be taking it personally.
Each of nine individuals
(Gates, Buffett, 2 Kochs, 4 Waltons, Zuckerberg) made, on average, so much from his/her investments since January, 2013 that a median American worker would need
a quarter of a million years to catch up. For the most part it was passive income, new wealth derived from the continuing productivity of America's workers.
Why We Should Take It Personally
First, because our productivity is rewarding a relatively few people
. In addition, many of the top money-makers are damaging other American lives. The top nine include four people
(Waltons) who pay their employees so little that we taxpayers have to pay almost $6,000 a year to support each one of the employees. And it includes two people
(Kochs) who have polluted our air and water to enrich themselves while quietly funding
organizations that threaten to dismantle what's left of our democracy.
Another personal issue: While the Forbes 400
made almost enough in one year to fund the entire safety net
, they don't even have to pay taxes on their half-trillion dollars of investment gain until they cash in, which may be never.
On Average, Most of Us Got One Dollar for Every Billion Dollars of New Wealth
A look at the numbers compiled by Us Against Greed
shows how personal it really is. Out of that $5,350,000,000,000 ($5.35 trillion) made since the start of 2013, the bottom 80 percent of America took an average of less than $5,000 each. The richest 6 to 20 percent fared better, taking an average of about $65,000.