Thursday, March 24, 2011

not your grandparent’s America

The greater the distance between the have’s and the have not’s, the more unstable our economy becomes. It’s certainly in the news these days so let’s imagine America’s 400 wealthiest families.

For a sense of scale, picture a Manhattan hi-rise about 30 stories, maybe four or five families per floor, averaging about 135 families per building... so three average New York hi-rises will house those families. Got that? Our four hundred wealthiest families in three apartment buildings.

Okay, now think of our 13 most populous states: California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, totaling about 186 million people. That’s roughly 60% of the United States population. Got that too? 60% of America, 186 million people.

Now imagine this: The wealth currently possessed and controlled by just those four hundred wealthiest families is the same total amount of wealth presently possessed and controlled in 2011 by our 13 most populated states combined, spread across 60% of our people. 

It’s mindboggling, I know, but it’s a fact so if you didn’t understand that, read it again.

When I was a kid, “banana republic” was a pejorative term now abandoned in our politically correct culture but it still means the same thing: a tiny, powerful, self-elected economic plutocracy controlling all the wealth while the rest of the people do all the work.

This not your grandparent’s America 
and this trend will not end well.

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