America's 719 billionaires are now collectively worth $4.56 trillion

 The wealth of U.S. billionaires grew by $1.62 trillion—55%—between March 18, 2020 and April 12, 2021

719 Billionaires Now Own Four Times More Wealth than Poorest 165 Million Americans Combined.

Jack Johnson wrote in Common Dreams that "after seeing their fortunes surge during the deadly coronavirus pandemic, America's 719 billionaires are now collectively worth $4.56 trillion—making them over four times wealthier than the roughly 165 million people in the bottom half of U.S. society combined, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness.

The two groups found that the wealth of U.S. billionaires grew by $1.62 trillion—55%—between March 18, 2020 and April 12, 2021, a period in which millions lost their jobs and more than 500,000 Americans lost their lives to Covid-19.

The 165 million people at the bottom of the wealth distribution, meanwhile, collectively own around $1.01 trillion, far less than the nation's hundreds of billionaires."

IPS and ATF note that in 1990, "the situation was reversed"—adjusted for inflation, the bottom 50% owned $380 billion in combined wealth while the nation's 66 billionaires owned $240 billion.

"It's not just during the pandemic—billionaires have been running up the score on average Americans for decades," said ATF executive director Frank Clemente. "The way to reverse this trend is by making sure the wealthy, and the corporations they own, start paying their fair share of taxes."

Citing Forbes wealth data, the new analysis shows that the U.S. now has six "centi-billionaires," people worth $100 billion or more:

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ($197 billion)
  • Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk ($172 billion)
  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates ($130 billion)
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ($113.5 billion)
  • Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett ($101 billion)
  • Oracle founder Larry Ellison ($101 billion)

"This pandemic billionaire wealth surge is a grotesque milestone after three decades of wealth steadily flowing to the top," Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality at IPS, said in a statement. "Congress should act to restore taxes on the wealthy and limit further democracy-distorting concentrations of wealth and power."

In 2014 the top 1% of the US population  possessed 40% of all the wealth in the USA.  That would be 3 million people who have as much as 120 million people. The bottom 80% own just 7% of the whole. By 2015 reports indicated that the top 1% own more than the bottom 90%. That would be 3 million people who have as much as 290 million people.  The gap is growing each year. That gap between the top 10% and those in the middle is more than 1,000% and the gap between the top 1% and the middle class is 2000%.

The experts asserts that the standard of living of the working and middle classes is dependent upon income and wages, while the rich tend to rely on wealth, distinguishing them from the vast majority of Americans.

Workers in the USA need to labor for a month in order to earn what the typical CEO earns in one hour.  Inequality in wealth is not the same as inequality in income but they are related and similar in many ways. In inequality for all—a 2013 documentary with Robert Reich in which he argued that income inequality is the defining issue for the United States—Reich states that 95% of economic gains went to the top 1% net worth since 2009 when the recovery allegedly started.

The disparity grows greater each year and the economic structures support that continuing.  According to a special report in the New York Times revealed that "the very wealthiest families are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield their income using maneuvers available only to several thousand Americans."

 “The Continuing Increase in Income Segregation,” a March 2016 paper by Sean F. Reardon, a professor of education at Stanford, and Kendra Bischoff, a professor of sociology at Cornell.  They write: Segregation of affluence not only concentrates income and wealth in a small number of communities, but also consecrates social capital and political power. As a result, any self-interested investment the rich make in their own communities has little chance of “spilling over” to benefit middle‐ and low-income families.

 In addition, it is increasingly unlikely that high‐income families interact with middle‐ and low‐income families, eroding some of the social empathy that might lead to support for broader public investment in social programs to help the poor and middle class.

The well-to-do are isolated from the day to day struggles of the middle class and below to provide these key services (health, education, job search, and other opportunities) to aid the upward mobility of their children. But the upper middle class are happy to take advantage of tax subsidies for their own housing, preschool for their kids, and saving for college which benefit them.

The inequality in education and health is also rising in America. Only 8% poor and lower middle class people recieve 4 years degree while 55% of rich receive four years degree. 

 Over the past 50 years, the highest-earning 20% of U.S. households have steadily brought in a larger share of the country’s total income. In 2018, households in the top fifth of earners (with incomes of $130,001 or more that year) brought in 52% of all U.S. income, more than the lower four-fifths combined, according to Census Bureau data.

In 1968, by comparison, the top-earning 20% of households brought in 43% of the nation’s income, while those in the lower four income quintiles accounted for 56%.

Among the top 5% of households – those with incomes of at least $248,729 in 2018 – their share of all U.S. income rose from 16% in 1968 to 23% in 2018.

In 1989, the richest 5% of families had 114 times as much wealth as families in the second quintile (one tier above the lowest), at the median $2.3 million compared with $20,300. By 2016, the top 5% held 248 times as much wealth at the median. (The median wealth of the poorest 20% is either zero or negative in most years we examined.)

The richest families are also the only ones whose wealth increased in the years after the start of the Great Recession. From 2007 to 2016, the median net worth of the top 20% increased 13%, to $1.2 million. For the top 5%, it increased by 4%, to $4.8 million. In contrast, the median net worth of families in lower tiers of wealth decreased by at least 20%. Families in the second-lowest fifth experienced a 39% loss (from $32,100 in 2007 to $19,500 in 2016).

Middle-class incomes have grown at a slower rate than upper-tier incomes over the past five decades, the same analysis found. From 1970 to 2018, the median middle-class income increased from $58,100 to $86,600, a gain of 49%. By comparison, the median income for upper-tier households grew 64% over that time, from $126,100 to $207,400.

The share of American adults who live in middle-income households has decreased from 61% in 1971 to 51% in 2019. During this time, the share of adults in the upper-income tier increased from 14% to 20%, and the share in the lower-income tier increased from 25% to 29%.

                                                                         Khalid Bhatti 


1 comment:

  1. This disparity is part of this system in all conditions, which will be cause of destruction of Capitalisim.


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