I don’t find the data on wealth inequality in the U. S. quite as encouraging as the editors of the Wall Street Journal do:
In the 40 to 59 age group that is the paper’s focus, the top 5% of households control 63.5% of “market wealth”—liquid assets, housing, and accounts like 401(k)s. But include future pension and Social Security income, and the top 5% share is a more modest 45.4%, the authors find.
Under this measure of wealth, the increase in inequality over time has also been less steep. While the share of “market wealth” held by the top 5% of households age 40 to 59 increased 15% over the last 30 years, their share increased only 10.2% with Social Security and defined-benefit pensions included.
Graphs explain the source of my concern:
I wasn’t able to locate the graph I was actually looking for quickly. Hard as it may be to believe 50 years ago 50% of the population held 50% of the wealth. We’re now getting back to Gilded Age, pre-industrial levels of inequality.
In my view three things are necessary
- Reduce the growth in income and wealth subsidies for the top 10% of income earners. Over the last 20 years those subsidies, largely from the Federal Reserve, have been prodigious.
- Restrict immigration. As I’ve said before there is no way to reduce wealth and income inequality when we’re importing poor people as quickly as we have been for the last 40 years.
- Revitalize the U. S. industrial sector. We can’t remain a great nation on the basis of retail sales and services.