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In the US, the Top 1% Now Has More Wealth Than the Entire Middle Class

Wealth and income inequality continue to increase in America. According to the latest study on the distribution of wealth in the US from the Federal Reserve, the top 1% of Americans have a combined net worth of $36.2 trillion, edging out the total net worth of the middle 60%, which is how economists designate the middle class. That's the first time the total wealth of the top 1% has been greater than the entire middle class since the Federal Reserve began tracking this data.

Inequality has been increasing in America for decades as the result of globalization, which tends to enrich business owners and investors more than workers, the decline of organized labor, and tax cuts which have largely favored the rich. The Trump corporate tax cuts in 2017 are a case in point.

Illuminate: "As many economists predicted, corporations which received a massive tax cut in 2017 didn't use much of their windfall to hire more workers or increase wages. Instead they increased dividends and repurchased their own stock making outstanding shares more valuable and enriching investors."

And, that wasn't news to economists; a series of studies over the last decade have shown that the GOP's "trickle-down" policies have enriched the 1% and increased income inequality at the expense of the middle class.

Illuminate: "Decades of trickle-down tax cuts have certainly enriched top wage earners and investors, but they didn't do much for anyone else. A new study by David Hope of the London School of Economics and Julian Limberg of King’s College London, found that such measures over the last 50 years greatly benefited wealthy individuals but did little to promote jobs or growth. They also led to greater income inequality."

Income and wealth inequality will eventually become a dominant political issue, but for now Republicans have convinced Americans that it's caused by immigration and the lack of individual effort rather than the policies they promote to benefit big business and the wealthy.

#economics #news #research

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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