Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wealth Distribution

The wealthiest 10 percent control three-quarters of all family wealth in America.  The wealth of those families totaled $67 trillion in 2013.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the top 10 percent of those families, who had at least $942,000, held 76 percent of total wealth.  The average amount of wealth in top 10 percent was $4 million.

Everyone else in the top 50 percent of the most wealthy families held an average of $316,000 per family.  That leaves just 1 percent for the entire bottom half of America’s population.

For families in the bottom half, the average amount of wealth held was $36,000.  However, if a family fell into the bottom quarter of that group, they had zero wealth.  On average they were $13,000 in debt.

Wealth was higher for households headed by someone 65 or older.  Median wealth for those families was $211,000, or almost three and a half times higher than the median for households run by someone 35 to 49.

Families run by adults with college degrees, had a median wealth of $202,000, or nearly four times that of families headed by someone who only had a high school diploma.

The Congressional Budget Office analysis looked at what it called "marketable wealth," which are assets that are easily traded and have value after someone's death (e.g., real estate, stocks, bank accounts, 401(k)s and equity in a business).  From those assets it subtracted non-mortgage debt (e.g., credit cards, auto and student loans).

Most political discussion focus on income inequality.  Although, income is important it’s not the only part of the wealth equation.  The recession from 2007 to 2009, hit investment and real estate values as well as jobs, thereby taking a bite out of everyone's wealth.


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