Sunday, September 14, 2014
Wealth Distribution In The United States Growing Worse
These charts show the distribution of wealth in the United States in 2013 (the last full year for which figures are known). The figures are from the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances. As you can see, the figures are way out of whack -- with the top 10% of richest Americans owning 75.3% of all wealth in the nation (more than 3 out of every 4 dollars that exists in this country).
And it keeps getting worse -- with the top 10% increasing their share, while the bottom 90% has a share that is decreasing. The last time this survey was done was in 2010, and since then the share for the top 10% has increased by 0.8%. Meanwhile, the share for the bottom 50% has decreased by 0.1% and the share for the 50-90% has decreased by 0.7%. In short, the rich are getting richer and the rest of America is getting poorer.
It doesn't have to be this way. The only reason it is this way is because the congressional Republicans have obstructed every single attempt to make the country's economy fairer for everyone. The only constituencies they really care about are the rich and the corporations -- the two groups that their "trickle-down" policy of economics was designed to help. They instituted that policy to give an unfair advantage to the rich (and corporations), and they refuse to let the president or Democrats change it to a policy that would be more equitable for all Americans.
This inequitable distribution doesn't just favor the rich -- it favors the White rich. Note that 90% of the nation's wealth is owned by Whites (9 out of every 10 dollars), even though Whites don't make up near 90% of the population. But it is not all Whites who benefit from the Republican policies. Note that the bottom 50% of Whites control only 2.2% of the nation's wealth while the top 10% of Whites control about 72.3% of the nation's wealth.
This should give you a clue as to why the Republicans not only want to continue unfair economic policies, but also unfair racial and ethnic policies. They aren't just acting on behalf of the rich. They are acting on the behalf of the White rich.
It's no surprise why rich Whites (like the Koch brothers) support the Republican Party. They are benefitting financially from the party's policies. But I have to wonder why the other 90% of Whites have a lot of Republican voters, because they are voting against their own economic well-being when they vote for the GOP. Is racism, ethnic and religious bigotry, and fear of the rest of the world that powerful -- powerful enough to make people vote against their own economic interests?
NOTE -- The mean distribution is an average of all the people in that group. The median distribution is the point at which half of the group will have more and half will have less.