A video went viral of over the first weekend of March. It’s title, “Wealth Inequality in America,” says it all. It lays out, in clear, accessible graphics, that the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Americans is far more vast than most people have even imagined.
Wealth inequality hinders saving
The mantra of personal finance gurus is “save, save, save!” Yet, statistics, surveys and reports continue to tell us that U.S. consumers still haven’t gotten the message. That they continue to save at a much slower rate than people in other industrialized nations. According to Daily Finance, the average American family puts away only about 4 percent of its annual income.
But after watching the video, posted on YouTube by a user calling him or herself “Politizane,” one may feel it is a wonder that the average U.S. consumer is able to save at all, given they have access to such a microscopic slice of the pie.
The gap is wider than you think
Using easy-to-grasp graphics, a somber score and an even-toned narrator, the video tells us that nearly half of the nations stocks, bonds and mutual funds are owned by the top 1 percent of the nation’s earners. Fully one half of Americans, it goes on to say, control only a half of a percent of the nation’s securities.
Where did Politzane get his or her information, some may be asking. It was first gathered for a piece, presented in infographic form, published in Mother Jones magazine in April, 2011. The Mother Jones piece culled the data from such reputable sources as the New York City Comptroller, Federal Reserve, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Tax Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The nation is just beginning to feel the sting of the sequester, that kicked in on March 1. The sequester cuts, which will hurt so many consumers, could be easily overturned by Congress at any time. Yet, lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to rattle swords about American pork and the need for cuts, cuts, cuts. Meanwhile, nothing in the sequester will affect the salaries or perks of those lawmakers, nor will it hurt the top 1 percent of earners, whose share of the economy continues to grow. Clearly, those top earners are who the lawmakers serve, not the voting constituents that they are sworn to.
Watch the video. It will take only about six minutes of your time, and it may just blow your mind.