You have to go back to the 1930’s Great Depression to find wealth inequality this bad!

US wealth inequality – top “one tenth of a percent” worth as much as the bottom 90%

Not since the Great Depression has wealth inequality in the US been so acute, new in-depth study finds

great depression

Unemployed men queue for coffee and bread at a soup kitchen in New York, during the Great Depression. (Photograph: FPG/Getty Images)

Wealth inequality in the US is at near record levels according to a new study by academics. Over the past three decades, the share of household wealth owned by the top 0.1% has increased from 7% to 22%. For the bottom 90% of families, a combination of rising debt, the collapse of the value of their assets during the financial crisis, and stagnant real wages have led to the erosion of wealth.

The share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% is almost the same as the bottom 90%

share of wealth

The picture actually improved in the aftermath of the 1930s Great Depression, with wealth inequality falling through to the late 1970s. It then started to rise again, with the share of total household wealth owned by the top 0.1% rising to 22% in 2012 from 7% in the late 1970s. The top 0.1% includes 160,000 families with total net assets of more than $20m (£13m) in 2012.

In contrast, the share of total US wealth owned by the bottom 90% of families fell from a peak of 36% in the mid-1980s, to 23% in 2012 – just one percentage point above the top 0.1%.

new wealth divide

The growing indebtedness of most Americans is the main reason behind the erosion of the wealth share of the bottom 90%, according to the report’s authors. Many middle-class families own their homes and have pensions, but too many have higher mortgage repayments, higher credit card bills, and higher student loans to service. The average wealth of bottom 90% jumped during the stock market boom of the late 1990s and the housing bubble of the early 2000s. But it then collapsed during and after the most recent financial crisis.

Since then, there has been no recovery in the wealth of the middle class and the poor, the authors say. The average wealth of the bottom 90% of families is equal to $80,000 in 2012— the same level as in 1986. In contrast, the average wealth for the top 1% more than tripled between 1980 and 2012.

income across g20

Among the nine G20 countries with sufficient data (featured in the graph above), the richest 1% of people (by income) have increased their income share significantly since 1980, according to Oxfam. In Australia, for example, the top 1% earned 4.8% of the country’s income in 1980. That had risen to more than 9% by 2010.

Oxfam says that in the time that Australia has held the G20 presidency (between 2013 and 2014) the total wealth in the G20 increased by $17tn but the richest 1% of people in the G20 captured $6.2tn of this wealth – 36% of the total increase.

From The Guardian sent to the Examiner by Mitch Trachtenberg


17 thoughts on “You have to go back to the 1930’s Great Depression to find wealth inequality this bad!

  1. There are 85 individual people on EARTH who collectively own more wealth than the poorest 3.5 BILLION people. Now THAT is wealth inequality. The USA is just gettin’ started.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If we can get people to understand this, in other words, understand what Occupy was trying to get across, folks like MO and JF lose their credibility and we can pass things like R.
    It’s all about power and who we trust. The power has had the money and the ethics to continue to sell us a false narrative wether its morning in America, a rising tide raises all boats (what they might call what we call trickle down economics), or the fear mongering only losely tied to reality which we saw on local display here in the month preceding the election.

    PS – how did the protest go Wednesday at the Wharfinger? I’m afraid to ask as it hasn’t been brought up.

    Thanks Mitch! for the link.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Two people (referred to by some as “Dark Cowards”) showed up to protest. They evidently were family members of the deceased.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liberal Jon…kinda hard to accept the fact that close to 2/3’s of the folks that cared enough to vote didn’t buy into your idealistic crap, isn’t it? Measure R was soundly defeated. Soundly. A very poorly written measure that didn’t take into account all the ramifications of an across the board wage hike of over 30% that would have impacted negatively business not only in Eureka but all around Humboldt Bay. Trimmers get way over $12 so they didnt care but people on fixed incomes cared, the health care industry cared, mom and pop business who would have to compete with larger businesses paying more for labor cared. And your union supporters cared to. They used you as their flunkies to push this so they could, in time, get more wages for their workers as well….all for nothing..not one increase in skill or productivity. Just because ideologues like you thought it was the right thing to do.
      Have you noticed what is happening in Belgium? The second highest minimum wage in Europe and their economy can’t support it along with the other fringe benefits that have come to be expected. Higher wages can be achieved……if you are willing to work to develop the skills to earn them, Jon. When I started working, minimum wage was $1.65, gas was .249/gallon and bread was 3 loaves for a $1. Wages go up, prices go up and poor remains poor. I only worked 4 months at minimum wage. I proved my value to my employer. So, really, it wasn’t fear mongering that turned people away from Measure R, it was the fact that there are a whole lot of people out there who understand how the economy really works and how people can get ahead…by hard work and not spending all you make.


  3. I saw the reference to cowards implying you MOLA and Tuluwat. What does that have to do with the above post?


  4. No, Chiv was talking about anonymous attacks on this blog, and anon cowards like the “staff” of the TE trying to use the tragedy and the family affected by the tragedy to attack the PD.

    Comprehension, MOLA, I know you aren’t being deliberately obtuse…oh, nevermind, yes you are.


  5. “Measure R was soundly defeated. Soundly.”

    Except, only about 30% of the eligible voters turned out, in effect, it only took 16% of eligible voters to pass or defeat it. Another illegitimate election…

    There’s many reasons why. The biggest is a local media paralyzed by fear, favor and ad revenue. The Fair Wage Initiative began in early 2013, the first Times Standard article was a small paragraph in February, 2014 saying that it qualified for the ballot. Nothing further in this county until a week or two before the election. (Except for the blogs). The North Coast Journal was the only print media to debunk “R” opponent’s lies, just before the election and long after the absentee ballots had already gone out.

    Add some color to the 1930 bread lines and it looks like 2nd Street at dinner time. Or, you can observe the crowds of folks that sneak into the “Costco breadline” for a $1.50 hot dog and bottomless coke.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. JP, I use my name and do not need to speak in the third person. Projection, and speculation is TE’s forte. The same half and dozen people, assuming the anons are even different people, comment on this blog.

    Unlike the TE, I actually have real people in the community who read and support me and defend me.

    You blog is nothing but a tool of Eureka misfits, Occupy, Fair Wage, whatever your name is today, and a tool for a failed Council member who did nothing when in office except cause drama.

    When you have the balls to use you name, you get credibility and you take responsibility.

    Shadowy cowards attack, lie with no consequences. You would not have a blog except for the atacks on people who contribute to this community.


    • Thanks for replying Mr. Chiv. I should have known hmm wasn’t you. You wouldn’t have spelled obtuse correctly.

      Even anonymous commenters are “real” people Mr. Chiv. Even folks who disagree with you and your right wing freinds are “real” people. The fact that you spew so much hatred for marginalized people, when you yourself are part of a maginalized group, is pretty ironic. Keep up the hatred Mr. Chiv…

      Liked by 2 people

  7. “Unlike the TE, I actually have real people in the community who read and support me and defend me.”
    — John Chiv

    Well, I admit I read the TE so I must be unreal. But then again… I read Mr. Chiv’s blog (nearly every one of his postings) so I must be a real person.

    Gosh I’m so confused.

    Mr. Chiv, you used to be a real person… now you are a parody. I keep hoping you will go back to being a real person for all of the community again… but you just don’t get what I’m trying to tell you.

    Perhaps it is for the best. You should speak to whomever you want to hear you and not apologize for it.

    Using your real name does not instantly make you a saint and a martyr. Nor does it automatically improve your performance.

    A name is important… but heart is even more important.

    As for why I use a “handle” instead of my name… I’ve explained that countless times… including for you specifically. Dialog means listening before speaking. I’ve heard every word you have written… you used to hear mine.

    As for winning elections proving the worth of one’s convictions… Jim Crow measures in the South won election after election.

    To loosely paraphrase Napoleon… sometimes God is not with the big election numbers.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The minimum wage measures in other locales across the US all passed. Even where Republican candidates won. Eureka’s was too complex. If EVERY wage earner had been included it might have done better. As long as huge corporations make huge profits without sharing their wealth with their employees this issue will continue to be raised.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “Shadowy cowards attack, lie with no consequences. You would not have a blog except for the atacks on people who contribute to this community.”

    It’s instructive to observe that Chiv, like most extreme ideologists, (are not very literate), and cannot provide a single concrete example of “lies” in their outbursts.

    There are many folks on the left more than willing to contribute to this community but literally NEVER comprise a majority on any elected or appointed offices. All are dominated by the right wing thanks to an election process corrupted by money, thanks to a compliant media, and rejected by most eligible voters that never vote! (The reason “R” lost).

    Newman and Albin are two of the most blatantly dishonest council members I’ve ever seen. Enough voters on the right agreed, otherwise, Kim and Natalie would never have won so many votes.

    Stay tuned to watch which elected or appointed seat Mr. Chet Albin will be appointed to next…like Bongio, Cirabelini, Endert, and others, all recycled right-wing ideologists being prepped for future elections and appointments.

    Liked by 2 people

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