The Wealth of Nations

There are certain things Americans love to talk about. Income inequality is not one of them. As a matter of fact, we have been staging a collective reenactment of The Emperor’s New Clothes with regards to monetary matters since, The Gipper shuffled his jelly-bean-loving carcass into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, which is doubly bad since America’s put on some post-baby boomer weight and looks terrible naked. In place of actual debate over wealth distribution we have decided it would be much better to act like poverty doesn’t exist, make sweet sweet love to the Horatio Alger American Dream myth and watch America’s Got Talent. As a result, pretty much no one has any idea just how rich the rich are and just how poor the poor are. As you will see in this excellent video from PBS Newshour below, the bottom 40% of Americans own a scant 0.3% of the nation’s wealth, while the top 20% owns 84% of the wealth. While you may already know all of the particulars of America’s fiscal makeup, it is still stunning to see 92% of Americans polled say that they would rather live in Sweden than the US when the names of the countries are withheld and only income distributions are shown. We adopted IKEA for our nation’s dorm rooms and studio apartments. Why can’t we adopt the economic structure of the country that all of those efficient, moderately priced bedroom sets came from?

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