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Who benefits from booms?

13 0 1
14.06.2018

Although the US mass media are awash with stories about America’s “booming economy,” the benefits are distributed very unequally, when they are distributed at all.

Buoyed by soaring corporate profits and stock prices, the richest Americans have reached new and dazzling heights of prosperity. As of May 2018, the growing crop of billionaires included corporate owners with unprecedented levels of wealth like Jeff Bezos ($112 billion), Bill Gates ($90 billion), and Warren Buffet ($84 billion). Some families have also grown fantastically rich, including the rightwing Koch brothers ($120 billion) and the Walton family, owners of Walmart (nearly $175 billion). Together with the rest of America’s richest 1 percent, they possess nearly 40 percent of the nation’s wealth.

But a great many Americans are not doing nearly as well as the nation’s super-wealthy. That 40 percent of the wealth, in fact, constitutes twice the total wealth held by the bottom 90 percent of the American public (about 294,000,000 people). On May 17, 2018, the United Way released a study indicating that nearly half of American households could not afford basics like food, housing, and healthcare. Many of the wage earners in these households were child care workers, home health aides, office assistants, and store clerks?people who had low-paying jobs and minuscule (if any) savings.

Furthermore, according to U.S. government statistics, some 41 million Americans live in poverty. Of these, over 5 million reportedly live on $4 a day or less?at least as long as they continue living. Life expectancy in some parts of the United States, for instance in Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta, is lower than in Bangladesh.

Employment income in the United States serves as another example of extreme economic inequality. Drawing on........

© The News International