Even Slaves Had It Better
Inequality in America today is twice as bad as in ancient Rome, worse than it was in Tsarist Russia, Gilded Age America, modern Egypt, Tunisia or Yemen, many banana republics in Latin America, and worse than experienced by slaves in 1774 colonial America.
Nicholas Kristof notes at the New York Times that inequality in the U.S. is worse than it was in apartheid South Africa:
The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data. The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid. (Whites in America on average own almost 18 times as much as blacks; in South Africa in 1970, the ratio was about 15 times.)
And see this:
Indeed, economist and inequality expert Thomas Piketty notes that – according to an important measure – inequality in America today is the worst in world history:
For those who work for a living, the level of inequality in the U.S. – writes Piketty – is “… probably higher than in any other society at any time in the past, anywhere in the world …”
In other words, there might have been some squalid country in the distant past where the disparity between people without any job and the king was higher than between a jobless American and the top fatcat in the U.S. But the spread between the American worker and the American oligarch is the greatest in world history.
Indeed, inequality in America has become so extreme that the “99% versus the 1%” meme is grossly inaccurate … because it’s really the .01% versus the 99.99%.
The cause of America’s runaway inequality?
The Wall Street Journal notes:
Many aspects of the recovery, and the Federal Reserve’s stimulus policies, have benefited the rich over others.
Indeed, bad government policy is primarily responsible.