American inequality – this house may not stand for long

The widening of the racial wealth divide has coincided with the extreme concentration of U.S. wealth. The wealthiest 0.1 percent of households have grown richer while millions of families face poverty and deep-seated economic insecurity.

The median American family saw their wealth drop 3 percent between 1983 and 2016, while the richest 0.1 percent have seen their wealth jump 133 percent. During this same period, the annual increase for White median family wealth was about $1,000. Latino median family wealth went up by $66 annually and Black median family wealth dropped $83 annually. Meanwhile, the average household in the top 1 percent saw their wealth jump by half a million dollars annually.

The richest dynastic families in the United States have seen their wealth expand at a dizzying pace. The three wealthiest families — the Waltons, the Kochs, and the Mars — have seen their wealth increase nearly 6,000 percent since 1983. The Forbes 400 richest Americans own more wealth than all Black households plus a quarter of Latino households.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, owns $160 billion in total wealth. That is 44 million times more wealth than the median Black family and 24 million times more wealth than the median Latino family. (, January 2028)

History tells us that when you have persistently huge gaps in wealth and manifest unfairness the result is revolution, not necessarily violent, but an upheaval nonetheless. Russia only a hundred years ago is an example, France at the end of the 18th Century another. Look around the world at present at regimes where small, corrupt and self-perpetuating elites are stashing away looted wealth and the local politics is toxic. (Latin America, most of Africa, South East Asia (Malaysia is an example), and Syria in particular, where the corrupt regime has been saved for geo-political reasons by Russia). We haven‘t reached that point in America yet, but the groundwork has been laid by short-sighted people out for a quick buck.

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