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Perception Vs. Reality - Wealth Inequality In America

It's much worse than you think.

Viral video (approaching 3 million views) highlighting the planet-sized chasm between our perception of wealth inequality and the actual numbers.   The reality is not even close to what most of us believe.


"Wealth Inequality in America," a five-minute video produced by a YouTube user named "Politizane," casts an interesting angle on the plummeting savings rate.  Set to depressing piano music and packed with crystal-clear animations, it gives a powerful snapshot of the American economic landscape.  Noting that "The top 1 percent own nearly half the country's stocks, bonds, and mutual funds," the video goes on to contrast those impressive holdings with the rest of the country.  By comparison, it points out, the bottom 50 percent of earners own only 0.5 percent of those investments.

Source - Daily Finance


Bonus clip:

What 'Percent' Are You? The Numbers Behind the Tax Debate


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Reader Comments (16)

Hat tip to Cheyenne for posting this clip in comments earlier.
Mar 5, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
How timely it is to post this video on the very day that the Dow takes front and center in the news for rocketing to new highs. Unfortunately for Bernanke's wet dream here--the Dow is exhibit nos. 1-10 on the Chairman's list of evidence that the economy is recovering--he hasn't fooled anyone this go 'round. CNBC no longer publishes reader comments on its stories because they all openly mock the CNBC propagandists when they aren't outright sardonic. The comments at yahoo.com illustrate the public's reaction to Bernanke's levitation act:


In a word, ouch.

The extent of Bernanke's failure here cannot be overstated. Not only does the public resent being told by a clueless egghead to ignore its own deteriorating economic condition and to instead pay attention the high wire act of this mythological Dow creature, but the division of opinion on the matter should cast a pall over the Fed: generally speaking people see the new high as further evidence of the extremely rich getting richer yet at the expense everyone else, or they see it as a fraudulent act of manipulation.

It is only a matter of time before everyone connects the dots and see it as one and the same phenomenon. Gosh, tell me again why the elite is so interested in gun control...
Mar 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM | Registered CommenterCheyenne
A few points:

1. Read Marx. Marx states that the path to socialism and "true communism" goes through capitalism. Why? According to Marx, capitalism, given enough time, concentrates wealth in the very few (see piece/chart above). This leads to the eventual downfall of the very few at the expense of the many (likely with guns). NOTE to Flamers: I'm not a Marxist, but a reader.

2. Stock market. Q: What is required of the stock market for EVERYONE to make money? A: Infinite growth. What is the ONLY thing in our known universe to exhibit infinite growth (hint: it ain't the stock market)? A: The universe itself. Think about that before you dump your life savings into stocks through a broker someone you don't know, or maybe have never met.

3. This video is flat-out scary. What does the chart look like in 20-25 years? Any quants or stats junkies out there able to forecast that? I'd like to know. I don't like living in the uninformed darkness where denial and reality TV reign supreme.

Mar 5, 2013 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosie
So what is the solution? Do we take money away from the rich and redistribute it like Obama wants? If we do this, the rich will take their toys and go somewhere else. Why are the poor and more importantly the middle class doing so poorly? What are the biggest expenses dragging them down? Taxes, fuel, housing, health care, insurance, transportation, and groceries are. By the time all of these are paid, there is not much left for savings let alone investments.

Unless all of these are tackled one by one, there is little hope of improving the lives of the middle class. The poor seem to always be with us at at about the same rate in good times and bad with little hope of changing the numbers. The great society for example did little to change the numbers.

The rich get richer especially when conditions are favorable for them. Outside of punishing them, most politicians have no clue as to how to benefit those on the bottom. Raising tax rates on the rich doesn't mean you will collect more tax. It only makes an ignoramus feel better. This is exactly what Obama plays to. What a creep! Only a robust economy collects more tax. So what are Obama and the clueless Republicans doing to help foster growth? Nothing.

All I can say is Europe is worse. But it always is. As the boomers age, we have an inverted pyramid. There is not enough dough being made by the newbies to pay for Dad's and Mom's trek into the sunset. So what do we do? We can collapse. That's the easy way out and the only way with the current leadership in both parties. Or we can try massive growth. How? Reduce federal taxes to 18% of all bank deposits and wire it to the treasury every day. Eliminate the IRS. Eliminate the EPA and OSHA. Let the States do it. Eliminate the FDA, let underwiters labs do all product testing. Institute loser pays for law suits. Outlaw public sector unions, they work for the public and they already have a better deal than everone else. Let's use America's natural fuels for starters with no depencency on foreign oil. Redirect all foreign aid into investment in 21st century infrastructure. Resurrect NASA. Work on renewables.

Let representatives and senators vote electronically so they don't need to spend time in Washington DC in the grasp of lobbyists. Make it illegal to have a congressional staff in Washington DC only in the home district. Make congress subject to the same laws as everone else with no special deals.

Bring about exicitment in America again.

God help us.
Mar 5, 2013 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Padden
Like your ideas. Not sure about NASA and "renewables." And I would add the Depts of Education and Commerce (except the USPTO) to your list of expendables. Drastically reduce military spending, of course. Completely overhaul Healthcare (the elephant about to squat on us).
Mar 5, 2013 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosie
"The rich get richer especially when conditions are favorable for them." One favorable condition is the ability to perpetrate crimes (mainly fraud, but also money laundering drug money) that are fined rather than prosecuted, which fines may then be paid from the proceeds from further crimes. The widening income distribution results from the criminal paper-pushing parasites, who produce nothing, stealing money from everyone else.

"So what is the solution? Do we take money away from the rich and redistribute it like Obama wants?"

The solution is the criminal prosecution of fraud, which yes, involves the forcible retrieval of stolen money. You are incorrect that Obama wants to do this. He has prosecuted no high-ranking executives this manner, for to do so would put his biggest political donors behind bars. See, e.g., Jon Corzine, one of Obama's biggest bundlers.

In contrast with the U.S., Iceland prosecuted 200 fraudulent bankers. See, e.g...




With much of Iceland's fraudulent rot behind bars, and the balance of it on notice that crimes have consequences, the country's unemployment rate was cut in half--again in sharp contrast to experience in the U.S.:




Iceland took a very basic approach to crime and unemployment: punish wholesale stealing. It worked. You don't hear any of this in the popular press because it's a beneficiary of the looting, or in blunter terms an accessory after the fact.

"If we do this, the rich will take their toys and go somewhere else."

If the fraudulent bankers are acquitted by juries, by all means I encourage them not to let the door hit them in the ass on their way out. We need productivity in the form of manufacturing, farming, and mining. We need to cut parasitic sectors like banking down to size by elminating their most profitbale activity, which is crime.
Mar 5, 2013 at 7:38 PM | Registered CommenterCheyenne
Heads Up

This is the first time I have been able to access the site in the past 3 hours. My internet service is thru Verizon and it's completely wireless, which is great unless there happens to be a snowstorm. This page took approximately 12 minutes to load. I'm not even sure if this comment will get thru, but I'm tired of fighting the frustration of a slow connection, and am taking a break to head to Assembly Hall for the IU - Ohio State game. 9 pm on ESPN. Look for a Bernanke Big Head in the crowd tonight during OSU free throw attempts. I can't guarantee it'll be on, but a buddy in the Athletic Dept said they made one today.
Mar 5, 2013 at 7:54 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
"OSU free throw attempts"

1st half or 2nd? Which end of the court relative to the camera, in other words? I hope you're recording the game. Have fun.
Mar 5, 2013 at 8:14 PM | Registered CommenterCheyenne
There's many ways to interpret the data in this video, but as a cynical libertarian, I do find it interesting that the skewed concentration of wealth seems to coincide with a power structure that has tended to concentrate towards Washington and away from States and certainly away from individuals at an accelerating rate during the time period shown. Coincidence?
Mar 5, 2013 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe
"What are the biggest expenses dragging them down? Taxes, fuel, housing, health care, insurance, transportation, and groceries are. By the time all of these are paid, there is not much left for savings let alone investments." - Mr Padden.
Lets dive into these "expenses" and see how many of our top 1% Americans own each one of these daily/monthly needs.
I will safely bet that a majority of the 1% have a hefty skin in this game. We need to look to states being states, each has its own identity and strengths as well as weaknesses. Localization will flurish with farmers to give us vegatables and meat will be processed by the local butcher. The cobbler and the seamstress will handle our wardrobe. Small communities will florish as everyone wears their own hat but there are many hats to be worn by all. I am born and bred as a Yooper and this is all i know but ive seen the world and the many complications and distracts that consume so many with artificial wants and desires. There is no reason we Americans cannot work our careers/jobs, raise our own children, and know that our food, clothing, and housing were all made possible by our neighbor and not in a factory half way around the big ball. I want everyone to look at the Upper Peninsula of michigan as an example of how our country can survive.
Mar 5, 2013 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJJ
Our school aged children have driven into their heads everyday the concept of global competition. It is written as the school concept and the teachers and administrators talk this absolute bullshit every day . I don't think that they actually know what
the fuck they are referring to. They have lost the concept of actual community by preaching this fabrication on a daily basis.
Mar 5, 2013 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSKINFLINT

IU athletic dept hands out the Big Heads to students before the game and then collects them at halftime so they can hand them out to the other end of the court for the 2nd half - assuring that OSU players always shoot free throws with a distraction. The Bernanke Big Head was there. I saw it a few times. They brought it out yesterday because the market hit a new high, and they used it a few times in 2008-2009 during the crisis.
Mar 6, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail

I watched the game, but the cameras were never behind the shooter on any free throws, so Benny never showed. Grim loss for the Hoosiers; I wanted them to take the Big 10 outright and restore a modicum of order in this country. Alas. As the result of last night, Duke and its Hitler lookalike coach will replace Indiana as the chalk in the Tournament. At least Josie will be pleased.


Separately, the wealth perception video was picked up by Bill Moyers:


Reading the comments there, I was amazed anew at how tightly people clutch their ideologies, as if Xism was a real life sugar daddy that buys beers and tells jokes. The facts don't matter unless Big Daddy says so. I swear to Christ people would argue over Fox News and MSNBC in their internment camps.
Mar 6, 2013 at 10:59 AM | Registered CommenterCheyenne
It only happened because of government intervention, look at where it started, 1970s, that is when the government forced people to save only in financial assets(IRAs, KEOGHs, 401s,etc). Once that started it enabled the 1% to steal our returns on savings.
Mar 7, 2013 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSKY
The top 1%, according to Kiplinger's bit.ly/13NxDJ9, is $340,000. The median is around $50,000. That means the 1% makes 7x more. This video is saying the top 1% makes around 360x more. What gives? Where is this video getting these statistics? What am I missing?
Mar 9, 2013 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Not sure where the video creator got his data. Click thru to his youtube page and contact him there if you want.
Mar 9, 2013 at 1:33 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail

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