Reports from the Economic Front

a blog by Marty Hart-Landsberg

Wealth Inequality–The System Works For Some

How concentrated is wealth in the US?    In 2007, America’s top 1 percent held nearly $3.3 trillion more wealth than the entire bottom 90 percent, according to Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances data released early in 2009.

To make matters worse, as the web site “Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality” explains:

these figures actually understate the wealth of America’s richest because each Federal Reserve wealth survey ‘specifically excludes’ individuals who appear in the survey year’s Forbes magazine list of America’s 400 richest. In 2007, the Forbes 400 held over $1.5 trillion in wealth,  over 2 percent of the nation’s total wealth — and nearly as much as the entire bottom 50 percent of Americans combined.

wealth-pie.png

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One response to “Wealth Inequality–The System Works For Some

  1. Neils C March 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I think the most intriguing part of this analysis is the caveat that the top 400 richest individuals in the US are not included in the data.

    Why would the Federal Reserve not include them? What is their aggregate worth? At a time when the buzzword “transparency” flies around congressional meetings and stock brokerage advertisements, the idea of deliberately distorting the analysis in favor of the rich is at minimum distasteful. Since the data is available (albeit, roughly) it would be nice to see a “corrected” graph, which includes the top 400. Then another graph, which indicates the percentage of taxes each sector paid.

    Like

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