Wealth disparity in the United States is a huge a growing problem.
It turns out that the wealthiest 400 people in our nation have as much money as the next 155 million people combined.
And, 80% of the wealth created in the United States between 1980 and 2005 has gone to the top 1% of income earners in the country. (See the seventh paragraph in the linked story.)
The other night, Bill Maher explained wealth disparity this way...
"Say 100 Americans get together and order a 100 slice pizza. The pizza arrives and the first guy takes 80 slices."
And then Maher furthers the analogy with how the rich are unwilling to budge by saying...
"And if someone suggests 'why don't you just take 79 slices,' that's SOCIALISM!"
Maher has some other interesting points on wealth distribution and the "plight" of the super rich HERE.
At any rate, wealth disparity is so bad that we're now approaching the same levels as just before the Great Depression. The article HERE sums it up pretty well when the author says...
"Folks, there is no way we can have economic prosperity in this country when the top 1% has all of the money. The middle class is basically being destroyed right in front of our very eyes. Consumption economies die when consumers have now money to consume."
There simply should be billions more dollars circulating in our economy. That money could be and should be used to invent, start companies, hire workers, support health and education programs, be used for people to...I don't know...sustain the economy by buying things, and on and on. But it's not. No. It's locked up in private equity by the super rich and/or simply spent by the super rich on inane luxuries that benefit virtually nobody. Meanwhile, the rest of us are scrappin' for what we can get and feeling good if we can get by.
So, it's more than resentment or "it's just not fair" sentiment that is at the root of pointing out wealth inequity. No. Such inequity is a direct and lethal economic threat to the vast majority of Americans. It has real implications for everyday people.
Something has to give at some point. I mean, if the 30 year trend continues...what happens when, say, the top 1% of Americans own, say, 95% of the wealth. What about the top 5% owning 99% of the wealth. Where does that leave the rest of us? What kind of life is that? What future will children have? What will we be willing to do to reverse things? Or will the economy simply just collapse into depression?