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Income Absurdity: Majority Live Paycheck to Paycheck, while an Elite Few Hoard Astronomical Amounts



Comparing the Wealth of Jeff Bezos to those with less than $10,000 is like comparing Jupiter to a Golf Ball… Graphic by Lynxotic / Adobe

Income Divides So Vast We Cannot See The Forest For The Money Trees…

Income inequality has been talked about a lot over the past couple decades. The vast inequities between those who make the most and those who make the least amount of money have caused a noticeable change in the American populace. Class divides have become a significant topic of debate; socioeconomic status can dictate one’s entire wellbeing; and Socialism, once considered a quasi-dirty word in America, is now an ideology championed by several politicians and an enormous number of young voters.

Just how bad is income inequality, though?

As it turns out, our anxieties over the concept are well grounded, and class divides may even be worse than our minds are able to comprehend.

The Incomprehensible Disparity and Absurdity of Income Inequality:

According to data from the 2018 Sussie Global Wealth Report and the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the number of people worldwide who have less than $10,000 total 3.2 billion. The bulk of those people fall in the $1,000-$10,000 range. Staggeringly, though, 1.5 billion of them have under $1,000. This is an enormous base, showing that the massive majority of people in the world are living on strained finances.

Bottom Net Worth of each bracketHow Many AdultsWho
$1001,500,000,000Subsistence Farmer
$1,0001,700,000,000Median U.S. Renter
$10,0001,300.000,000Median U.S. Family with no College
$100,000436,000,000A.O.C. after a few years in Congress
$1 million40,000,000UK’s current P.M.
$100 million49,000Exxon CEO
$1 billion2,700Berlusconi
$10 billion150Musk, etc.
$100 billion2Bezos and Gates

**Data: Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2018, Bloomberg, Federal Reserve

The difference between the billions of people at the bottom of this income pyramid, and the handful of people at the top is almost too much to truly conceptualize. To visualize it is to compare golf balls to planets. The number of people holding the majority of wealth is infinitesimal, hardly perceptible compared to those who live in fiscal straits.

Of course, there are certain variables that this global data may not take into account. For example, countries that do not have monetary economies or egalitarian societies that place less emphasis on individual earnings may fall into lower brackets, but they may measure their wealth in different ways.

Systemic Problems Rooted in Politicians’ Undeniable Marriage to Capitalism Portends a Bleak Future

However, from the Western perspective of a developed nation, this data is quite shocking. In the United States alone, income equality is alarming, almost too much to really wrap one’s head around. As aforementioned, the numbers are impossible to visualize in their entirety. While we can see people living in poverty and signs of inequity, the true extent of the issue is borderline unfathomable. We cannot imagine billions of people compared to figures in the single digits. The problem is evidently systemic at this point, the result of nearly 250 years of capitalism and hundreds of choices made by politicians, businessmen, and everyday citizens along the way.

Furthermore, while there has been increased awareness and conversation about this issue in recent years, the immediate future does not look promising of any reformation. In 2018, the first time ever in America, billionaires paid lower tax rates than the working class. This is in no small part due to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a cornerstone of President Trump’s trickledown economics plan.

Thus, the lower class citizens of our country are not just earning less than our billionaires, but they are also forking over a larger slice of their paycheck to the government. It all adds significant insult to the injury that is our persistent income inequality issue. 

Although we cannot visualize or even really even begin to understand income inequality all together, what we can see is that there is a form of unfairness at hand, that resources are distributed unevenly, and that many people are getting the short end of the stick that falls from the almighty money tree.

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