Why Wealth Inequality Matters…

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I don’t know how many times I can tell you why wealth inequality matters and why we need to understand its impact on Black Americans.  Please review this report and work on building wealth, finding ways to overcome gender wage gaps, and our rankings in this cycle of wealth distribution….we us being at the bottom! – AcademicHustler1975

The United States is becoming, as the French economist Thomas Piketty warns, a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.

Wealth includes all pension wealth—whether held on individual retirement accounts, or through pension funds and life insurance companies—with the exception of Social Security and unfunded defined benefit pensions. We also exclude the wealth of nonprofit institutions, which amounts to about 10% of household wealth. The bulk of nonprofit wealth belongs to hospitals, churches, museums, education institutions and research centers, and thus cannot easily be attributed to any particular group of households. – Emmanuel Saez

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Too much inequality disenfranchises us, diminishing our vote at the ballot box and our voice in the public square. Wealthy donors dominate our campaign finance and lawmaking systems, even after efforts at reform. In the first phase of the 2016 Presidential election cycle, 158 wealthy donors provided half of all campaign contributions.

Now a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies presents some dramatic new statistics on the racial wealth gap. According to this new study:

  • The top 100 on the Forbes 400 list now own about as much wealth as the nation’s entire African American population.
  • Many members of the Forbes 400 have amassed wealth in their lifetime through successful companies and innovation. But all of the Forbes 400 have also benefited enormously from a system of tax, trade, and regulatory rules tipped in favor of wealth holders at the expense of wage earners. Tax policies, for instance, routinely favor capital income over wage income, and these policies disproportionately benefit the Forbes 400, especially those working in finance.
  • Wealthy individuals are moving quickly to shift wealth into offshore tax havens and bury it in private trusts, avoiding accountability and taxation every step of the way. This hidden wealth now totals in the trillions.
  • As of October 2015, the homeownership rate for White Americans stands at 71.9 percent. By contrast, only 42.4 percent of African Americans own their homes.
  • Typical White households in the United States now hold $141,900 in net worth. The African American household median: $11,000.
  • The bulge at the top of our wealth “space needle” reflects America’s wealthiest 0.1 percent, the top one-thousandth of our population, an estimated 115,000 households with a net worth starting at $20 million. This group owns more than 20 percent of U.S. household wealth, up from 7 percent in the 1970s. This elite subgroup, University of California-Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez points out, now owns about as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of America combined.
  • By seriously taxing our wealthiest households, we could raise significant revenues and invest these funds to expand wealth-building opportunities across the economy.
  • Our wealthiest 400 now have more wealth combined than the bottom 61 percent of the U.S. population, an estimated 70 million households, or 194 million people.
  • African Americans overall make up 13.2 percent of the U.S. population, but have only 2.5 percent of the nation’s total wealth.
  •  The wealthiest 20 individuals in the United States today hold more wealth than the bottom half of the U.S. population combined.

 

Billionaire-Bonanza-The-Forbes-400-and-the-Rest-of-Us-Dec1-copy

Source:

http://www.ips-dc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Billionaire-Bonanza-The-Forbes-400-and-the-Rest-of-Us-Dec1.pdf

 

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