Yes, Three People Now Have More Wealth than 50% of Americans Combined

 

 

By Sahid Fawaz

Inequality has officially passed the sanity mark.

Think about the (empty, unfulfilled) promises of trickle-down economics when you read the following piece by the Los Angeles Times:

“It can be hard to grasp just how much money is concentrated in just a few hands in our lopsided economy today. But here’s a start: The richest three people in the United States — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — together have more wealth than the entire bottom half of the country combined.

To put an even finer point on it: That’s three people versus about 160 million people.

To really comprehend just how insane the wealth concentration has become, consider Bezos, the head of Amazon. Worth about $90 billion, he recently was declared the richest man in the world. In October alone, his wealth jumped by $10 billion — or about $4 million per second.

Given his massive wealth, one might imagine that his company has enough to pay its warehouse workers a minimum of $15 an hour. But apparently it doesn’t. Amazon pays some of its workers as little as $12.84 an hour.

That’s pretty much the trend we’re seeing play out over and over across the U.S. economy— wealth funneling to a tiny group at the top while everyone else scrambles for crumbs.

On the other end of the spectrum from Bezos, tens of millions of families are trying desperately to make their paychecks last through the week. One in 5 households has zero or negative wealth today, meaning they have as much debt as they do assets. (That’s why the three-versus-160 million figure is so stark: Many people have nothing.)

Having no savings or wealth means having no cushion to fall back on when you’re hit with the unexpected — an illness or medical emergency that results in large hospital bills, say, or the loss of a job. With no buffer, even a broken-down car can wreak financial havoc on a family, turning a stable situation into quicksand. We see this domino effect play out all the time, as our social media feeds are filled with crowdfunding requests by people who need help covering basic life expenses.”

For the rest of the Op-Ed, read the entire piece at the Los Angeles Times here.

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